William Gay (cornerback)

For other people with the same name, see William Gay (disambiguation).
William Gay

refer to caption

Training Camp 2007
No. 22Pittsburgh Steelers
Position: Cornerback
Personal information
Date of birth: (1985-01-01) January 1, 1985
Place of birth: Tallahassee, Florida
Height: 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Weight: 192 lb (87 kg)
Career information
High school: Tallahassee (FL) Rickards
College: Louisville
NFL Draft: 2007 / Round: 5 / Pick: 170
Career history
Roster status: Active
Career highlights and awards
  • Super Bowl champion (XLIII)
  • Tied for most interception returns for a touchdown in a career in Steeler franchise history (5).
Career NFL statistics as of Week 7, 2016
Total tackles: 525
Sacks: 6.0
Forced fumbles: 7
Pass deflections: 80
Interceptions: 11
Defensive touchdowns: 5
Player stats at NFL.com

William Gay (born January 1, 1985[1]) is an American football cornerback for the Pittsburgh Steelers of the National Football League (NFL). He was drafted by the Steelers in the fifth round of the 2007 NFL Draft. He played college football for the University of Louisville. Besides a stint playing for the Arizona Cardinals in 2012, Gay has spent his entire career with the Steelers.

Early years

Gay attended James S. Rickards High School in Tallahassee, Florida, where he played quarterback, wide receiver and safety for the Raiders. He racked up over 1,200 all-purpose yards and 12 touchdowns as a junior. He notched 1,035 yards and seven scores passing, 1,237 yards and 11 scores receiving and 82 tackles, 14 pass breakups and nine interceptions at defensive back as a senior when he was named team co-MVP and earned first team All-Big Bend Area honors.

Gay was also a standout in track & field. In 2002, he placed 8th in the 200-meter dash with a time of 22.61 seconds at the Capital City Classic.[2] At the FHSAA Region 3A he took 3rd in the long jump (7.07m or 23 feet, 2 inches) and 14th in the 400-meter dash (51.0 seconds).[3] He was also clocked at 4.4 in the 40-yard dash.

Gay was rated as a three-star prospect by TheInsiders.com and was the nation's 67th-ranked cornerback. He was rated as a three-star prospect and was the nation's 46th-ranked cornerback by Rivals.com.

College career

Gay played college football at the University of Louisville where he played in 46 games recording 134 tackles. Gay is also somewhat notable for being offside as a defender on a field goal kick attempt in the final minute of Louisville's game against Rutgers in 2006. Although the kick was unsuccessful, a penalty was called against Louisville that provided the kicker with a second attempt. This one was successful. As a result, Louisville experienced their only loss of the season, effectively ending their bid for a National Championship game berth.[4]

Professional career

2007 NFL Combine

Pre-draft measurables
Ht Wt 40-yd dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert Broad BP
5 ft 10 in 187 lb 4.48 s 1.51 s 2.55 s 4.15 s 6.89 s 38.5 in 9 ft 10 in 16 reps
All values from NFL Combine

Pittsburgh Steelers


Gay was selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the fifth round (170th overall) in the 2007 NFL Draft. On July 22, 2007, the Steelers signed Gay to a three-year, $1.221 million contract. In his first preseason game he intercepted a Tyler Palko pass and tackled Saints first round draft pick Robert Meachem.

He began his rookie season as the fifth cornerback behind Ike Taylor, Deshea Townsend, Bryant McFadden, and Ricardo Colclough.[5] Gay played his first regular season game in the season opener at Cleveland. In a 34-7 win over the Cleveland Browns, he made his first career tackle and pass deflection. During a Week 7 matchup with the Denver Broncos, he made a season-high 4 tackles. In his rookie year he played in 16 games recording 19 tackles and 2 pass deflections.[6]


In Gay's second year, he saw more significant playing time after injuries to cornerbacks Bryant McFadden and Deshea Townsend. Gay contributed to the Steelers' stingy defense, which was the first in the league in pass defense and best total defense. Gay also contributes on special teams. On November 16, 2008, he received his first career start and made 3 tackles in a game against the San Diego Chargers. On December 14, 2008, Gay made his first career interception and returned it for 12-yards against the Baltimore Ravens.

The Steelers ended Gay's second season 12-4 and finished first amongst the AFC North. On January 18, 2009, Gay played in his first AFC Championship and recorded one tackle, as the Steelers beat the Ravens 23-14. On February 1, 2009, Gay played in his first Super bowl and racked up 2 tackles. The Steelers went on to beat the Arizona Cardinals, 27-23, to win Super Bowl XLIII.

He finished his second season with 41 tackles, 33 solo tackles, 7 pass defelctions, and an interception in 4 starts. Gay also played in every game for the Steelers in 2008.[6]


After Bryant McFadden left via free agency for the Arizona Cardinals during the 2009 off-season, Gay assumed the starting duties at cornerback for the season opposite Ike Taylor.[5] Gay started his first season opener and recorded 4 tackles in the Steeler's 13-10 victory over the Tennessee Titans. He went on to start the next 14 regular season games, as he finished the season with a career-high 78 tackles, 70 solo tackles, a sack, and 10 pass deflections.[6]


On April 16, 2010, he was signed to a one-year, $1.101 million contract by the Steelers.[7] He returned for his fourth season and did not start at cornerback until Week 11 against the Oakland Raiders, due to the return of Bryant McFadden. After recording three solo tackles, he returned to start the next three games. On January 23, 2011, he started his first career playoff game and recorded two tackles in a 24-19 AFC Championship win over the New York Jets. On February 6, 2010, Gay started in his first career Super Bowl. The Steelers went on to lose Super Bowl XLV to the Green Bay Packers with Gay finishing the game with two tackles and a pass deflection.

He finished 2010 with 48 tackles, 40 solo tackles, a career-high 2 sacks, and 11 pass deflections in 16 games and 4 starts.


On August 1, 2011, Gay signed a one-year, $735,000 contract with the Steelers. In his fourth year, Gay started a career-high 15 games. While playing a Week 11 contest at Cincinnati, he recorded 3 tackles and returned an interception for 12-yards in a 24-17 win over the Bengals. On December 5, 2011, he went on to have one of his best games for the Steelers, as he made a season-high seven tackles, five solo tackles, three pass deflections, and an interception in a 14-3 victory over the Cleveland Browns. He finished 2011 with 61 tackles, 49 solo tackles, a career-high 13 pass deflections, and two interceptions.

Arizona Cardinals

On March 24, 2012, Gay signed a 2-year, $3.2 million contract with the Arizona Cardinals. The move reunited him with the Cardinal's new defensive backs coach and former Steeler's teammate Deshea Townsend.[8] On September 9, 2012, Gay made his regular season debut for the Cardinals and accumulated 7 tackles, a pass deflection, and a forced fumble in a win over the Seattle Seahawks. He played his last game for the Cardinals on December 30, 2012, and finished the game with 4 tackles. In his only year in Arizona, he had 57 tackles, 45 solo tackles, a sack, 6 pass deflections, and 2 interceptions. Gay was released on March 1, 2013.

Second stint with Steelers


On March 4, 2013, Gay signed a 3-year, $4.5 million contract, with the Pittsburgh Steelers. It also included a $500,000 signing bonus and $500,000 guaranteed.[9] During a Week 10 game against the Buffalo Bills, Gay had a career-high 11 tackles, a career-high nine solo tackles, and a pass deflection.[6]


Gay began the 2014 season as the third cornerback behind Ike Taylor and Cortez Allen. On September 28, 2014, he received his first start of the season against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after Ike Taylor broke his forearm the previous game. He finished the loss with four solo tackles and two pass defelctions and remained the starter, in place of Taylor, for the rest of the season. On October 26, 2014, Gay made a season-high eight tackles, six solo tackles, and had his first career touchdown when he returned an interception for 33-yards in a 51-34 victory over the Indianapolis Colts. He also gained some spotlight for his unique celebration dance after returning an interception for a touchdown.[6]

While playing at Atlanta on December 14, 2014, Gay had a season-high 8 solo tackles and returned his third interception of the season for a career-high 52-yard touchdown against the Falcons. This gave him most interceptions returned for touchdowns in the 2014 NFL season.[10]

He finished the season with 59 co biked tackles, 12 pass deflections, three interceptions, and three touchdowns in 16 games and 13 starts.[6]


Following the retirement of longtime teammate Ike Taylor, Gay became the Steelers' number one cornerback for the 2015 season. On December 13, 2015, Gay intercepted the Bengals' back-up quarterback, AJ McCarron, in the third quarter and returned it for a touchdown. This tied him with NFL Hall of Famer Rod Woodson for most career interceptions returned for touchdowns for the Pittsburgh Steelers.[11]

In his first season as the Steeler's starting cornerback he finished with a total of 58 combined tackles, one sack, seven pass deflections, two interceptions, and one touchdown while starting all 16 regular season games.[6]


Gay began the season as the Steeler's number one cornerback. On November 6, 2016, Gay was supplanted as the starting cornerback and delegated as the nickel corner with the emergence of Ross Cockrell and rookie Artie Burns.[12]

Personal life

Gay's mother was murdered in a domestic violence incident when he was eight years old. Apparently, Gay and his siblings knew nothing about the domestic violence occurring in his home, but at the urging of other family members, and out of fear for her children, she left her boyfriend—the father of Gay's brother. While she was at a friend's house shortly after leaving, her boyfriend arrived at the friend's house and shot her three times. The boyfriend then went back to his car and killed himself. In an effort to keep them together his grandmother took the brothers in and raised them. He shared his story in a video for the Women's Center and Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh in an attempt to spread the word on domestic violence.[13][14]As of August 2015.[15]


External links

This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 12/5/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.