Steelers DB Gay displays confidence
William Gay can't sing a lick, but he wasn't afraid to display his vocal talents before an estimated 350,000 fans during the Steelers' Super Bowl XLIII victory parade.
"It was a fun time, my first Super Bowl. Coach (Mike Tomlin) gave me the mic; I (was) singing the song. A lot of joy came out of me," Gay said of his off-key rendition a few days after the Super Bowl win. "ESPN made a joke. I started laughing once I saw it. Every time I go back home, everybody's like, 'Here we go.' "
Supremely confident, Gay is attacking his new role as starting left cornerback with similar vigor.
Gay is eager to prove he's the best replacement for the departed Bryant McFadden.
"(There's) no more pressure the outside world can put on me than I put on myself. It's just now people are starting to notice: 'OK, William Gay might be starting,' " Gay said Monday, following the Steelers' first of 14 Organized Team Activities (OTAs). "I was playing with the first unit (last season), practicing with them. I pride myself in trying to be the best, and I want to continue to do that."
Gay moved up on the depth chart when McFadden signed with Arizona as a free agent. That, coupled with veteran Deshea Townsend becoming more entrenched as the nickel back, opened the door for Gay.
Two years ago, Gay was a little-known, fifth-round draft pick from Louisville. Now, he's on the verge of starting at cornerback for the defending Super Bowl champions.
"I'm not a starter yet. It's just penciled in. That's all a starter means, that I'm penciled in for the first game. Matter of fact, take it back just to the first preseason game," said Gay, who made four starts in 2008, when McFadden suffered a broken forearm.
"Just knowing the defense, going out there and playing with confidence. I think that's the biggest thing as a corner, just having a comfort level -- what we call a swagger."
Gay recorded 38 tackles and his first career interception last season. His reputation for always being around the ball was magnified when he tied for second on the team with 11 passes defended despite starting only a fraction of games.
Gay has appeared in all 32 regular-season contests since entering the NFL.
He has the confidence that comes from already appearing in a Super Bowl, lacking only significant playing time as a starter.
"I got (under) my belt the highest stage in the NFL. (There's) nothing else but the Super Bowl," Gay said. "I played against the best. Now, it's time to just continue to prove myself against the best."
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