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Has the Steelers’ Iron Man, William Gay, come to the end of the road?

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The rock in the Pittsburgh Steelers’ secondary could be on the outside looking in next season.

NFL: Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

Throughout his time in the NFL, William Gay has been the equivalent of an iron man. Gay has a consecutive-games-played streak of 176 that’s longest in the NFL among defensive players, and this feat is unbelievably impressive.

But Gay has seen his role on the Steelers’ defense slowly decrease each season during the past two years. He has always been known as a tremendous slot-cornerback, with the flexibility to move to the outside, if necessary. No one is suggesting Gay can play on the outside anymore, and many are wondering if he can still play the slot in the starting defense.

With Cameron Sutton, Brian Allen and Mike Hilton all threatening his playing time in a serious way, Gay looks back on not just his time in Pittsburgh, but his entire career with a sense of accomplishment.

“Look, I didn’t even know if I was going to get drafted,” Gay told Chris Adamski of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “So to be standing here 11 years, it’s a blessing.”

Will this be the end of the road for Gay, at least in Pittsburgh? He wouldn’t say, but the overall will to win a Super Bowl is still deep inside No. 22.

“You lace up your cleats, you wanna win the Super Bowl,” Gay said. “You don’t want to do it for something else. You want to be able to hoist that Lombardi and see that confetti fall on you.

“Every year is tough. You hate the part about cleaning up your locker. You always want to be the team that cleans their locker with a Super Bowl parade after.”

With Gay’s future in question, he plans on taking the off-season to rest, relax and refocus before making any decisions on his future. Or to possibly respond to the Steelers making a decision for him on his future.

“As you get older,” Gay said, “when you get into the off-season, you take it as time to just sit back and just release all the pressure from the ongoing, watching film, the intense prep, getting ready for a Sunday game. You just sit back and breathe a little bit.”

A lot of uncertainty surrounds the player dubbed “Big Play Willie Gay”. Should the team bring Gay back for the 2018 season? That has yet to be determined, but the handwriting might be on the wall for the veteran defensive back.