Lions vs. Steelers: Special circumstances brought Will Allen back to Pittsburgh, and his opportunity to contribute is here

Larry French

The Steelers picked up Will Allen just a few days after he was released by Dallas. Having played with the Steelers extensively last season, he'll lean on his experience to fill in for rookie Shamarko Thomas Sunday against Detroit.

Recently released and re-signed from the Dallas Cowboys, like a good BC powder, safety Will Allen has returned to Pittsburgh to provide a quality safety net on the depth chart.

Rookie S Shamarko Thomas suffered an ankle injury in the Steelers' 23-10 win over the Buffalo Bills, and Allen finds himself in a similar position to last year.

It was just a season ago and on a Steelers defense that seems far removed from today's, still capable of causing migraines to Offensive coordinators, that Allen filled in due to injuries to Troy Polamalu and backup Ryan Mundy. THe latter of the two forced Allen into action by Week 6, and he solidly delivered with a seven game stretch, racking up 34 tackles and 3 pass defenses.

Allen's solid play contributed to a Steelers run defense that improved dramatically, from 11th overall to 5th in seven weeks, when Polamalu finally returned in Week 14. But that was then and this is now, and the Steelers once again need solid safety and special team's play from Allen.

Safety Dance

As with a few other roster spots on a football team determined to self-heal, depth at safety unfortunately continues to be one of those areas that feels like a picked scab. While Allen might not be his most agile at age 31, and having unsuccessfully held down a roster spot on a Dallas Cowboys defense that is as porous as a fish-net holding water, he does deliver a known commodity with our team, and a stability that he has shown before.

Special Circumstances

While this seems to be a veritable stamp on the passport of a lot of Steelers journeyman, it is worth mentioning Allen's commitment to detail and finding ways to increase production on special teams. Pittsburgh should take production anywhere it can get it. Special circumstances have brought Allen (wearing No. 20 now) back to Pittsburgh and he seems very happy to be back; expect Allen to contribute as a solid veteran backup that knows our system, and just may get a new helmet star after being re-signed from Dallas.

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