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Like a Phoenix, Steelers CB Antwon Blake is rising up from the ashes

The Steelers secondary has underperformed in recent years and been the subject of speculation and concern. Antwon Blake hopes to be the difference-maker the Steelers need.

Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

Antwon Blake recently compared himself to the mythical Phoenix in discussing his goals. "I want to be one of the greatest stories that rose from the ashes," said Blake per ESPN. Rising up from the ashes is not all he has in common with the legendary bird. Like the Phoenix, Blake has been a stand-out and is receiving a lot of attention, playing opposite Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant in one-on-one coverage at OTAs.

Rising up has been the theme of Blake's career. He has certainly come a long way from his days at UTEP and as an undrafted free agent with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Entering his third season with the Steelers, the 5'9" cornerback hopes to continue his ascent and become a stronger contributor to the team.

Recently he tweeted, "If you don't believe in yourself, you can't expect others to." It is clear Blake believes in himself, and judging from his role so far at OTAs, it is clear the Steelers believe in him as well. In fact, their faith in Blake could be part of the reason the Steelers did not scramble to draft a cornerback in the first round, instead picking up DE/OLB Bud Dupree.

The fact is, when Brice McCain left the Steelers via free agency for the Miami Dolphins, Blake immediately became a more integral part of the Steelers' secondary. The Steelers may have avoided drafting a cornerback in the first round, but they brought in cornerbacks in the second and fourth rounds of the 2015 NFL Draft. It will be up to Blake to hold them off and prove he should be a top 3 cornerback on the team's roster and depth chart.

The 5th-century B.C. ancient Greek historian Herodotus wrote of the Phoenix, "What they say this bird manages to do is incredible to me."

Let's hope this 2,500-year-old quote will end up applying to Blake and that during the upcoming season after he rises up from the ashes analysts have reason to say, "What Antwon Blake does is incredible to me."