Sometimes it takes a while for a player to get an opportunity. That's been the case with many great NFL players in history. Look at James Harrison and his long-and-winding journey to stardom with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Harrison wasn't really a household name before sticking on Pittsburgh's roster, but Brandon Boykin, who was acquired from the Philadelphia Eagles this preseason, has a resume which begs the question of why he hasn't seen the field more often in 2015.
The reason why Boykin is behind players like Ross Cockrell and Antwon Blake on the depth chart is unknown. Not only to fans and the media, but to Boykin himself. Nonetheless, Boykin has remained a model citizen in his time of trial, simply waiting for his chance to get onto the field.
In the meantime, Boykin has played well on special teams, simply biding his time to get an opportunity. At a time when it looks as if injury might be the only way Boykin will crack the team's starting defense, the shoulder injury William Gay suffered in the Steelers' 23-13 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs might just be the opening that Boykin needs to finally see the field.
When talking to Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Monday, Boykin said he was "1000-percent sure" he could duplicate the success he had in Philadelphia in Pittsburgh if he's given the chance. The success he saw in Philadelphia had him labeled as one of the best defensive nickel-backs in football.
In Boykin's three seasons with the Eagles, he played in all 16 games every season. In 2013, his second season in the NFL, he had a breakout season, as he was able to record 42 tackles and six interceptions. But 2014 was less spectacular, as he only was able to contribute one interception and 36 tackles. Now Boykin finds himself as a special- teams player who has registered only three tackles through seven football games in 2015 for Pittsburgh.
Fans have been rabid in their hopes to see No. 25 see significant repetitions on the defense, but the coaching staff clearly doesn't agree with that theory. If injury turns out to be how Boykin gets onto the field, he very well could have such an opportunity this Sunday, if Gay is unable to play. If Boykin is given the chance, it's up to him to prove he should stay and not be a one-and-done player on the team's defense.
Boykin just wants a chance, and fans can certainly echo his sentiment, given those members of the Steelers' secondary who have underperformed during the young, 2015 season.