Steelers no longer need Allen’s services

From Mirror, wire reports

PITTSBURGH – The Pittsburgh Steelers have parted ways with cornerback Cortez Allen after five seasons, the team announced Friday.

Allen, who was a fourth-round pick in 2011, finished his career in Pittsburgh with 150 tackles, 34 passes defended and six interceptions. He missed 15 games with a knee injury in 2015 and was benched in 2014 after struggling with injuries and poor play.

ESPN first reported in March that the Steelers had asked Allen to take a pay cut from his due salary of $4.4 million. Allen wasn’t open to that request, so the team was prepared to move on without him.

Coach Mike Tomlin said last month that he wasn’t certain Allen would be a factor in the team’s cornerback lineup, citing the uncertainty around Allen’s health. Allen dealt with a knee cartilage issue during the past season and spent much of the year on injured reserve.

With the release, William Gay and Ross Cockrell are the only cornerbacks on the roster with starting experience.

Bears extend Long

LAKE FOREST, Ill. – The Chicago Bears have exercised a fifth-year option on three-time Pro Bowl offensive lineman Kyle Long that keeps him under contract through 2017.

The move was announced Friday.

The 6-foot-6 Long has made the Pro Bowl every year since he was drafted by Chicago with the 20th pick in 2013. He spent the first two years at right guard before being shifted to right tackle just before last season’s opener, after the Bears waived Jordan Mills.

Long was regarded as more effective at right guard even though he made the Pro Bowl at right tackle, and he appears headed back to his original position after the Bears signed right tackle Bobby Massie in March.

Harvin retiring at 27

Percy Harvin’s tumultuous career has come to an abrupt end.

The 27-year-old wide receiver is retiring after seven NFL seasons, Harvin’s agent, Joel Segal, confirmed to The Associated Press on Friday.

Harvin played five games for the Buffalo Bills last season before being placed on injured reserve with lingering hip and knee injuries.

Harvin’s retirement decision was first reported by Pro Football Talk .

The Bills were Harvin’s third team in two years after he was traded by the Seattle Seahawks to the New York Jets during the 2014 season.

The Minnesota Vikings drafted Harvin in the first round in 2009 after he helped Florida win two national titles in three seasons. He was the AP offensive rookie of the year in 2009, finishing his first season with 60 receptions and eight touchdowns, two on kick returns.

Harvin was traded to Seattle in 2013 and immediately signed a six-year, $67 million contract extension. Prior to the 2013 season, Harvin had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his hip, an injury that would linger for the rest of his career.

Harvin helped the Seahawks win the Super Bowl in 2014 when he returned the opening kickoff of the second half for a touchdown. But he only played in five regular-season games and had run-ins with teammates before being traded to the Jets the following season.

Denver re-signs tight end

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – Bennie Fowler, who caught Peyton Manning’s final pass in the Super Bowl and had a key reception in Denver’s playoff win over Pittsburgh, has signed his exclusive rights free agent tender with the Broncos.

Undrafted out of Michigan State, Fowler graduated from the Broncos practice squad in 2014 to a bigger role last season.

His biggest play was a 31-yard catch on third-and-12 in the fourth quarter of the Broncos’ come-from-behind 23-16 win over the Steelers in the divisional playoffs.