PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) – At six-foot-one inch, Pittsburgh Steelers safety Will Allen isn’t a physically imposing man whose size makes him stand out at Steelers OTA’s.
The 12-year veteran from Dayton, Ohio has adopted a behind-the-scenes approach of mentoring younger teammates and making sure less seasoned players have a person to bounce ideas off and push them when needed.
“It is all about leading by example as much as I can,” says Allen. “Pushing guys and making my teammates better so we can win another world championship.”
A big part of the leadership role Allen has embraced is mentoring younger players who are thrust into new roles as the Steeler defense has undergone changes in the off-season with the retirement of Pro Bowl defensive backs Troy Polamalu and Ike Taylor.
Such a player is Syracuse third year safety, Shamarko Thomas, who looks to be getting the majority of snaps at strong safety this year.
“I try to help him out [really] anywhere I can, but he is going to learn from his own mistakes, ” says Allen. “He is capable and I really don’t have to take him under my wing, but whenever he needs some help I’m available to him.”
Besides his accomplishments on the field, Allen is also known for his community service record. The Will Allen Foundation was created in May 2008 to inspire youth to attain their personal best and to be an influence in the lives of families in Dayton, Ohio, Tampa, Florida and Pittsburgh. Allen believes you don’t have to be an NFL player to give back.
“I think even if I wasn’t playing football I would try to give back and do more in the community,” says Allen. “You don’t have to be a football player or celebrity to want to give back in the community.”
Despite spending his football career in four different cities throughout his time as a pro, Allen demonstrates a big trait that the majority of veterans should emulate wherever he goes, leadership.
Whether it’s providing an opportunity to underprivileged youth or providing an encouraging word to young maturing defensive backs, you can bet Allen will be there to lead regardless, not because it’s in his contract as a NFL player but it’s his desire and empathy as a human being.