By Corey J. Corbin
Allied News Sports Columnist
WELL, KEENAN LEWIS it was nice knowing you.
That was the exact thought that went through my mind Sunday evening when I heard William Gay was returning to the Steelers after being released by Arizona.
Well not exactly, but this is a family newspaper and I have to keep things PC.
As you can probably tell, I’m not a big fan of ‘Big Play’ Willie Gay — I have another notso PC nickname for him that’s unfit for print — or his capabilities as a starting cornerback.
I think he’d be OK as a nickelback, but honestly, I’d prefer the Steelers put more of an effort to bring Lewis back into the fold to compete with Ike Taylor and Cortez Allen, who was something of a surprise once the lights came on towards the end of the season.
The threesome of Taylor, Allen and Lewis would have made as fine of a cornerback trio as there is in the league for my money in terms of overall talent at shutting down the pass.
Notice, I mentioned ‘overall talent at shutting down the pass’ because I know there are better corners out there at intercepting passes, but don’t — or won’t — tackle as well as getting hands on balls.
Teams typically don’t test Taylor, but Lewis proved he was at least Taylor’s equal in his first year as a starter and I’d happily give him $7 million a year to keep him in Black and Gold.
Back to Gay, I had a feeling as soon as the news broke that Arizona had severed ties with him that he was coming back to the ’Burgh ala Larry Foote and the Detroit Lions a few years back.
Then I saw Steelers beat writer for the Post-Gazette Ed Bouchette’s tweet about Gay returning and my worst nightmares were realized.
No I take that back, my worst nightmare (sports wise) almost happened this year had we played and lost to New England.
As it stood, the Steelers lost to the Ravens (my most hated team), the Cowboys (my brother’s favorite team) and the Browns (the favorite team of many co-workers). The only thing that could’ve made that trifecta worse would’ve been a loss to the Patriots.
But I digress, it seems like the Steelers settled for familiarity with Gay instead of trying harder to coax Lewis back to Pittsburgh.
I don’t know if the market for Gay’s services would’ve been too great — maybe only Ray Horton and the Cleveland Browns, anyone? — and probably would’ve still been available had the Steelers waited to sign him until Lewis declared his intentions to sign with another team.
Maybe by signing Gay, the Steelers have hurt Lewis’ feeling and ultimately pushed him out the door, something I wouldn’t have done.
But what do I know, I’m just a lowly sports writer in Grove City, Pennsylvania.
Agree, disagree or just want to comment? Contact Corey at firstname.lastname@example.org.