Allen Faces Uphill Climb To 53-Man Roster

Steelers fifth-round pick dealt with injury for the majority of the preseason

Shelby Cassesse
August 28, 2018 - 6:26 pm
Marcus Allen

PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan) - Steelers coaches will admit it's difficult for them to evaluate safety Marcus Allen after the rookie missed OTAs, the majority of training camp and two weeks of the preseason with a hamstring injury.

"The odds are stacked against him, but I also showed him examples of other men who the odds were stacked against," said Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin. "I showed him a video of Ross Ventrone covering a punt in the Carolina game making a splash play, and I think Ross had missed two or three preseason games that year with a hamstring injury, but we got to a level of comfort with what he saw from him in that game that he made our 53-man roster for example, so that's what I mean."

Allen helped his case in one of his few chances to showcase his skills in the third preseason game against Tennessee, making an interception at the end of the game. He said he isn't sure where he stands with the team, but the interception was a big opportunity for him. 

"It was a very big step," Allen said. "I've been out for a minute as far as dealing with injuries. I had to prove a point."

The Steelers drafted Allen in the fifth round of the 2017 draft out of Penn State where he made 320 tackles and only one interception in his four-year career. Defensive coordinator Keith Butler said players like Allen can sometimes make the practice squad, but it's very difficult to evaluate him when there is a small body of work at the professional level. 

"It's hard to say what you'll do with him even though we've invested a draft choice in him and stuff like that. We've got to see what comes along and other people that get cut around the league. We're trying to better ourselves and we're going to do what we can to better ourselves."

Allen will have his final tryout with the Steelers Thursday in the last preseason game against Carolina before NFL teams have to form their 53-man rosters Saturday by 4 p.m. EST. Like Tomlin, Butler says there's still time for players to change minds. 

"Does this game mean anything? Sure, it does. There's a lot of guys throughout my history here that have made the team on this last ball game. Sometimes it's special teams, most of the time it's special teams. Sometimes it could be defensively, too. There's still a chance for somebody to make the team."