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Steelers CB Cortez Allen says "I've shown the ability to make plays"

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Instead of predicting Pro Bowl trips, Steelers starting cornerback Cortez Allen is approaching his new role with humility. He isn't ignorant toward what he's shown in limited duty so far in his career, though.

Karl Walter

One year ago, as Post-Gazette reporter Ed Bouchette points out in Tuesday's edition, former Steelers cornerback Keenan Lewis made the bold statement that he would receive an invitation to the Pro Bowl at the end of the year.

Brashness and moxie are two traits commonly associated with NFL defensive backs. Lewis's prediction was mostly met with skepticism, and while he ultimately fell short of that goal, he exceeded expectations in many areas. So much so, he landed a $26 million deal with New Orleans in free agency.

The Steelers barely batted an eyelash, over the prediction or his departure because of who's replacing him.

And Cortez Allen isn't saying a word about individual goals.

"I'm not that type to make predictions or boast about myself," Allen said. "I'm a very humble guy. I just come to work every day and try to get better and better so I can help my team the best I can."

Boring, bland and perfect, if his goal is to hide his hype.

Allen showed incredible promise as a full-time starter over the final two games of the 2012 season, when he caused five turnovers - two interceptions and three forced fumbles, all recovered by the Steelers.

Lewis did not have an interception in 2012, and forced one fumble in 16 starts.

"I think I've shown an ability to make plays in the defensive system," he said.

Allen is listed at 6-foot-1, but says he's "six-foot-two and change," making him one of the bigger cornerbacks in the NFL. And on a per-game basis, he's one of the biggest playmakers, too. Playmaking has been a foreign concept for the Steelers since 2010, a year in which they had 10 interceptions as a team. With 11 in 2011, the last two years equaled the 21 interceptions they had in 2010 - when they advanced to the Super Bowl.

Perhaps the lack of playmaking ability in Lewis (one career interception in 45 career games) is the reason they let him walk. The reality is Ike Taylor is still able to play at a high level, and with Allen still playing on his rookie contract for the next two seasons, Lewis was able to earn more than the Steelers should reasonably have paid.

Allen may not be talking about it, but regardless of Pro Bowl predictions from Lewis, the team couldn't afford to keep Allen off the field.