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Will Allen remembers being an eager rookie with the New York Giants in 2001. He wanted to learn, wanted to excel as an NFL cornerback. One time, he dared to ask the incumbent for some professional advice.
|Former New York Giants cornerback Will Allen, now with the Dolphins, likes to help his teammates.|
"He said 'You think I'm going to help you out when you're here to take my position?' I mean, I understood where he was coming from."
The guy Allen was drafted to replace was Dave Thomas, a ninth-year veteran who was coming off his lone season as a 16-game starter.
Thomas was trying to cling to his job, but Allen overtook him anyway. Allen started in Week 2 and has been a starter ever since. Thomas never played again after that season.
Their interaction must have left an impression on Allen. He has taken an active role in getting a pair of rookie cornerbacks ready to replace him someday.
"I want to win," said Allen, who this week signed a two-year extension that will carry him through 2011. "I'm not a guy who will be, like, 'I'm not going to help this guy because he may take my position,' or anything like that. Helping them is going to help our team."
The Dolphins signed veteran free agent Eric Green, formerly of the Arizona Cardinals, then used two of their first three draft picks on cornerbacks. They selected Vontae Davis 22nd overall and Sean Smith 61st.
Allen said he gets "in their ear quite a bit" to get them up to speed.
"Going into the draft, everybody knew that that was a step we had to take," Allen said. "If you didn't know that, you didn't really pay attention to our team. Everyone knew we had to draft a couple corners -- not just one, but two corners.
"I didn't quite know it was going to happen that way. But I'm happy it did happen. It's going to help our group, and everybody is pretty happy about it."