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Cortez Allen says he's more mentally tough than other players

His background at The Citadel, a college with military-grade discipline enforced for four years, gave Allen the mental edge over other players.

Karl Walter

Cortez Allen didn't learn for school at The Citadel. He learned for life.

He was asked a question about how his education at "The Military College of the South" helped prepare him for his budding NFL career. Allen responded, "I think I am a lot more mentally tough than some guys. I can handle different things. What I learned there I couldn't learn at any other school."

The Citadel is not affiliated with the U.S. Military, but it supplies more officers to the armed services than any school outside the military academies. The level of discipline in which they require cadets to live is a tad higher than most four-year universities as well.

And on top of that kind of preparation, Allen was an outstanding football player.

Fans barely saw Allen at all his rookie year of 2011, though in that time, he D'ed up Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (in the midst of his record-setting 17 TD season) several times in man coverage in just his eighth NFL game. And after playing on an interim basis for most of 2012, Allen started the final three games due to injuries to Keenan Lewis and Ike Taylor, and forced five turnovers in the team's final two games.

The Steelers have a strong history of solid cornerbacks over the last decade. Few, if any since Rod Woodson, have made as many plays as Allen has this early into their careers. He's gone from a rookie seeing spot action to the team's nickel back and now, to their starting cornerback. He's one of the most intriguing players heading into the 2013 season.