Allen with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2012
|No. -- Free agent|
|Date of birth:||October 29, 1988|
|Place of birth:||San Diego, California|
|Height:||6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)|
|Weight:||196 lb (89 kg)|
|High school:||Citra (FL) North Marion|
|NFL draft:||2011 / Round: 4 / Pick: 128|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics as of 2015|
Cortez Lequon Allen (born October 29, 1988) is an American football cornerback who is a free agent. Allen grew up in Citra, Florida and played college football at The Citadel. Allen was selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the fourth round of the 2011 NFL Draft. Allen quickly became a prominent member of the Steelers' secondary who contributed to limiting passing yardage and forcing turnovers.
High school career
Born in San Diego, California, Allen graduated from North Marion High School of Citra, Florida in 2006 prior to being recruited to The Citadel. While in high school, Allen played varsity football only in his senior year and also ran on the track and field team. Allen earned all-state and all-city football honors in his one year of varsity football and was part of the 2005 regional championship team.
Allen posted 120 tackles and 5 interceptions in his career with the Bulldogs football team of The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina, returning two for touchdowns. As a freshman in 2006, Allen played in four games and had one assisted and one solo tackle. He redshirted the 2007 season. In 2008, as a sophomore, Allen played all 12 games and started 6. Against Furman (October 18), Allen made a season-high seven tackles, and against Samford (October 25), Allen made six tackles (including one for loss) and broke up one pass.
In his junior season (2009), Allen played and started in all 11 games. Of his 57 total tackles in 2009, 36 were solo. Following Citadel's victory over Samford on October 31, the Southern Conference named Allen the Defensive Player of the Week for six solo tackles and two interceptions returned for 110 yards. For 2009, Allen earned second-team All-Southern Conference honors. Allen would again earn second-team honors in his senior season (2010), having made 23 tackles (13 solo), 6 passes defended (most in the team), and 2 interceptions (returned for 18 yards). Allen also made 8 red zone stops, including two at the one-yard line.
Pittsburgh Steelers (2011–2015)
At the 2011 NFL Combine, Allen completed the 40-yard dash in 4.51 seconds, made a broad jump of 10 feet, 9 inches, completed the 60-yard shuffle in 10.87 seconds, made the 20-yard shuffle in 4.01 seconds, and made the cone drill in 6.76 seconds. In the 2011 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers selected Allen in the fourth round, 128th overall. Before the draft, analyst Mel Kiper considered Allen a "sleeper" who would be selected in the third or fourth round. Kiper also described Allen as "a big corner who runs well, tests well athletically and has good strength". Due to injury, Allen missed much of training camp.
Allen played 15 games in the 2011 season and missed Week 6 (October 9) due to an ankle injury. He debuted professionally in Week 1 (September 11) against the Baltimore Ravens on special teams. In Week 2 (September 18), Allen and Arnaz Battle made a special teams tackle of the Seattle Seahawks' Leon Washington during a third quarter kickoff return. On October 23 (Week 7) against the Arizona Cardinals, Allen made his first defensive tackle. Allen made four defensive tackles on October 30 (Week 8) against the New England Patriots and was part of a defense that limited Tom Brady to 198 passing yards. In Week 9 (November 6) against Baltimore, Allen made three defensive and one special teams tackle. Allen left the Week 17 (January 1, 2012) game against the Cleveland Browns due to a shoulder injury. He did not return to that game and was inactive for the Steelers' Wild Card game. Allen finished his rookie season with 15 tackles. He regularly played on nickel and dime defenses. Defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau commented about Allen: "We always liked his size to speed ratio and he's got an innate feel for the ball."
For the 2012 season, Allen played in 15 games with three starts. He had 55 tackles, 10 passes defended, 2 interceptions returned for 6 yards, and 3 forced fumbles. Twice in the season, Allen substituted for injured cornerback Ike Taylor. Allen made a career-high five tackles in Week 6 (October 11), a Thursday night match against the Tennessee Titans. In Week 16 (December 23) against the Cincinnati Bengals, Allen picked off two passes from Andy Dalton and returned the interceptions for a cumulative 6 yards. Allen also forced a fumble from Cincinnati receiver A. J. Green. In the season finale on Week 17 (December 30) against the Cleveland Browns, Allen forced two fumbles, both of which were followed by Steelers touchdowns. In the second quarter, Allen stripped a received ball from Josh Gordon, with Lawrence Timmons recovering. Then in the fourth quarter, Allen forced a fumble from Travis Benjamin after Benjamin caught a pass. Allen returned the fumble 21 yards and set up a possession that led to a touchdown.
Allen played in 14 games in the 2013 season. Allen struggled with injuries during the 2013 season, as well as the addition of corner back William Gay to the Steelers roster. Allen scored his first touchdown against the Packers after intercepting a pass from Matt Flynn that was intended for Jarret Boykin. The Steelers won the game 38-31. Allen finished the season with 51 total tackles, 2 interceptions, 1 touchdown, and 13 pass deflections.
On September 6, before the first game, the Steelers extended Allen to a five-year, $26,000,000 contract. In Week 3 of the 2014 season, the Steelers lost cornerback Ike Taylor to a forearm injury. Allen stepped in as his replacement. While playing the Buccaneers the week after, he recorded 7 tackles as well as an interception. The next week, facing the Jaguars, he intercepted a pass from rookie quarterback Blake Bortles in the 2nd quarter. He finished the game with 7 tackles and an interception. On October 17, the Steelers benched Allen in favor of former Texan Brice McCain.
- "Cortez Allen". NFL. Retrieved January 20, 2013.
- "Cortez Allen". CitadelSports.com. Retrieved January 19, 2013.
- ESPN stats page
- "Bulldogs Earn Two SoCon Players of the Week for the Second Consecutive Week". CitadelSportscom. November 2, 2009. Retrieved January 20, 2013.
- "Cortez Allen". Pittsburgh Steelers. Retrieved January 20, 2013.
- Hartsell, Jeff (March 9, 2011). "Citadel's Allen sets bar high at NFL combine". The Post and Courier.
- "Citadel's Allen among SoCon hopefuls" The Post and Courier, April 29, 2011
- Associated Press (December 6, 2011). "Rookies growing up on the job for Steelers". ESPN.com. Retrieved January 20, 2013.
- "Seattle Seahawks vs. Pittsburgh Steelers - Play By Play - September 18, 2011". ESPN. Retrieved January 20, 2013.
- Fittipaldo, Ray (December 31, 2012). "Steelers Notebook: DB has nose for turnovers". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved January 20, 2013.
- Rivers, Christina. "Cortez Allen Becoming A 'Principled Leader' On Steelers' Defense". KDKA. Retrieved January 20, 2013.
- Bouchette, Ed (April 15, 2016). "Steelers release cornerback Cortez Allen". post-gazette.com. Archived from the original on April 16, 2016. Retrieved April 15, 2016.
- Hagemann, Andie (April 15, 2016). "Steelers release Cortez Allen; Rams keeping Zuerlein". nfl.com. Retrieved April 15, 2016.