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mesaSteeler
10-03-2010, 12:56 AM
Gay thrives in nickel role
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/print_702503.html
By Scott Brown
PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Sunday, October 3, 2010

After starting 14 games at cornerback in 2009, William Gay has had to accept a reduced role this season.

That hasn't stopped the fourth-year veteran, who was supplanted in the starting lineup by Bryant McFadden, from carving out a valuable role as an extra defensive back in passing situations.

Gay, the Steelers' nickel back, has eight tackles and a sack and been credited with one pass defended. He also is tied for third on the team in special teams tackles (3).

Coach Mike Tomlin recently praised Gay's professionalism as well as his play.

"He hasn't muttered a peep (about not starting)," Tomlin said. "He's always into the game. You never have to look for him when it's sub-package football time. I'm happy for him, I'm excited for him and want more of those plays from him."

Reed can't haunt Steelers

Quarterback Charlie Batch might have slept a little better last night knowing he won't have to face Ravens Pro Bowl safety Ed Reed.

Reed won't play today because he is still recovering from offseason hip surgery. Tom Zbikowski has been starting at free safety in place of Reed.

"It's a big hit for them," Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians said, "and it's nice not to go against him."

Three of Reed's 46 career interceptions have come against the Steelers. He and Troy Polamalu are widely regarded as the top safeties in the NFL when each is healthy.

"He'd pick things off sideline to sideline even if he was the backside safety," Arians said of Reed. "I think he and Troy are the only guys capable of doing what they do."

Scott Brown can be reached at sbrown@tribweb.com or 412-481-5432