While other free agents that joined the Pittsburgh Steelers this offseason have intrigued fans and analysts, Brice McCain has been one player that hasn't drawn much attention.
As a former sixth round draft pick from the Houston Texans, McCain has not produced a consistent year, and is going into his sixth season in the NFL. His best of his five seasons so far was 2011, when he had 13 passes defensed and two interceptions. He also returned one of those two interceptions for his only touchdown in his NFL career. McCain caught a tipped pass and zig-zagged his way to the end-zone on the tail-end of a blowout of the Tennessee Titans making the score 41-7.
Since 2011, McCain has not had as productive a season. He started primarily as a slot cornerback and temporarily would replace a starter whom fell to injury. Though such an opportunity presented itself in 2012 when Jonathan Joseph became injured, McCain would suffer a broken foot in late November that would sideline him for 4 games and has been a nagging injury since.
Recently however, McCain has claimed he has finally taken the time to make a full recovery and feels ready for his new season with the Steelers. "The last two years weren't what I wanted them to be but I’m fully healthy for the first time in two years," McCain said. "I can’t wait to get going."
McCain clocked in a 4.33 40 yard dash time coming into the NFL, which fits the new "speed" focus of the Steelers' defense. Though his 5'9'' frame doesn't favor the team allowing him to assign him to cover large tight-ends, it does fit the mold of a nickel corner replacement for William Gay and/or a dime corner to cover speedy backup receivers from other teams.
If you're looking for any highlights on Brice McCain in the NFL, there's not much to look at. Just search youtube for "Brice McCain highlights" and you'll see that three of his first five videos are of him being taken advantage of by opposing offenses. And of the other two, both are interceptions from his rookie season, one in the preseason.
McCain claims it was tackling and his love for the game of football that has gotten him this far. Hopefully his tackling and his speed can make an impact on special teams for the Steelers and he can fit the mold of a solid Steelers' backup. The good news is that he is excited about being in Pittsburgh and that he has an understanding of what the Steelers' organization is about.
"Tradition, hard work, an organization that knows how to win. I smell tradition."
Hopefully he can sniff out a turnover or two in 2014.