Pittsburgh Steelers: Cornering The Market

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Dec 8, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Cortez Allen (28) reacts as he takes the field against the Miami Dolphins during the first quarter at Heinz Field. The Dolphins won 34-28. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Flashing Back On Dwayne Woodruff and Cortez Allen

Dwayne Woodruff: One cornerback that might not be receiving the credit for how good he really was during his playing days is Dwayne Woodruff. Lasting until the sixth round in 1979, the Pittsburgh Steelers selected the University of Louisville star with the 161st pick overall. Woodruff would play his entire professional football career for the Pittsburgh Steelers that lasted until he retired in 1990.

A one-time Super Bowl champion (XIV), Woodruff was named as the Steelers’ Most Valuable Player in 1982. Wearing jersey number 49, Dwayne Woodruff would start in over half of the 157 games he played in (105 starts).

Along the way, he picked off 37 opponent’s passes and that included three interceptions that went to the house. His longest interception came in 1988 when he rumbled 78 yards after a pick. For three straight seasons from 1984 to 1985, Woodruff registered five interceptions. The next two years he picked off four passes in each of those seasons.

For any skeptics that doubt the brains of a pro football player, think again. Many moons ago, Byron “Whizzer” White was a star player for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Following his football career, he became a Supreme Court Justice. More recently, Dwayne Woodruff proved he too is a scholar.

While still playing football, Woodruff earned his Juris Doctor from Duquesne University School of Law in Pittsburgh. That was followed in later years with the ex-Steeler becoming a founder of the Pittsburgh Shadyside law firm, Woodruff & Flaherty, P.C.. In 2005, Woodruff became a Judge for the Court of Common Pleas in Pittsburgh. This year, the former pro football player attempted to earn a seat on the Supreme Court in Pennsylvania during that election but failed to win the seat.

At his alma mater, Louisville, there is a study center appropriately named the Woodruff Academic Center. It received that name based on a donation from the football player the facility is named after.

Additionally, his jersey has been honored in that team’s stadium. Along with his wife, the Woodruff’s chair a non-profit organization in Pittsburgh named “Do the Write Thing” that is an initiative of the National Campaign to Stop Violence (NCSV). His organization gives middle school students the opportunity to study and voice the impact of violence in their lives using classroom discussions and by the power of the pen. What they write is an essay on what should be done to change society’s culture of violence.

Cortez Allen: We conclude our review of the best of Pittsburgh Steelers cornerbacks with a guy who is still out on the field trying to prove himself.

For Allen, he was a fourth round draft pick four years ago, but has yet to establish himself with enough talent to become an every day starter. With eight starts in 2013, last year was a major disappointment when he was benched in favor of Bryce McCain and started in only seven games. Still, has has already made six interceptions, two in every season he has been with the Steelers with the exception of his rookie campaign.

In 2015, McCain is gone but like William Gay, Allen will have to fight off the challenges of Senquez Golson and Doran Grant as well as veteran Antwon Blake. Mike Tomlin likes his potential and Cortez Allen has shown signs of brilliance but he must perform at a much better consistency.

Next: Steelers: Rounding out the Linebackers