Pittsburgh Steelers: Cornering The Market

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Jan 3, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback William Gay (22) defends a pass by Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (5) in the second quarter in the 2014 AFC Wild Card playoff football game at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Calling To Mind William Gay And Deon Figures

William Gay: In 2007, reaching the fifth round of the NFL draft that year was one William Gay, a cornerback from the University of Louisville. The Pittsburgh Steelers snatched him up with the 170th pick overall, and aside from one season with the Arizona Cardinals, Gay has played in every game of every season during his eight years in the NFL. Gay has never missed a game and has started in 76 of 128 games with the Black and Gold and the Cardinals.

Incredibly, last season Gay picked off three passes that all went for touchdowns. That fell one short of the National Football League record for pick-sixes in a season. Of those three interceptions, Gay returned one from 52 yards out. Gay will return in 2015 to try to fend off the challenge of Antwon Blake and two rookies, Senquez Golson and Doran Grant.

For his career, Gay has nine interceptions, two of those coming in 2012 when he was with Arizona.

“I wasn’t thinking about my career. I was thinking how happy I was to be alive” Deon Figures

Deon Figures: While being drafted with the Pittsburgh Steelers first round choice in 1993, the 23rd selection overall, Deon Figures never became the next Rod Woodson. He was however, a solid cornerback who in 1994 started in 15 of the 16 games he appeared in. Figures lasted just six seasons, two with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He totaled his most interceptions in one season while in Jacksonville with five in 1997.

Many Steelers fans will remember Deon Figures for an incident in 1995 while the ex-Steeler was in his hometown of South Central Los Angeles. It was the off-season and a crazed gunman shot at Figures while he was escaping into his car. A bullet penetrated his car door slamming into his knee putting him on the injured list.

The shooting resulted in Figures starting in just one of 14 games he played in 1995. At the time of the incident, Figures had this to say about getting shot: “I wasn’t thinking about my career. I was thinking how happy I was to be alive.” Like Kordell Stewart, Figures was a product of the University of Colorado where his final season in 1992 was very special. That year, Deon Figures was a Consensus All-American, and won the Jim Thorpe Award for being the best cornerback in the country, as well as a similar award, the Jack Tatum Trophy.

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