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McCain: 'My personality, I am a fighter'

Next man up. It's about trust. It's about believing in each other. It's about not making excuses. And for the 2014 Steelers it was just as big a part of the team as the treasured Terrible Towel.

One of the players who best exemplified that mantra was cornerback Brice McCain, who went from soft-spoken free agent whose role and playing time was an unknown at the start of the season to a key cog in the Steelers winning the AFC North.

McCain stepped in for fellow cornerback Ike Taylor, and he held up his end of the bargain and then some.

"My personality, I am a fighter," said McCain. "I felt like if I came in and competed, this team will give you a chance to play. My feeling wasn't wrong. I came in, competed, and fought hard. We have a lot of good players here. It was unfortunate Ike got hurt, but I got to play and put some good stuff on tape. It was a productive season for me and the team. It was a stepping stone for the team."

McCain had his best performance of the season when it was needed most with two interceptions in a 27-17 win over the Cincinnati Bengals that secured the AFC North title. But he just took that with a grain of salt, knowing he was just doing his job like everyone else.

"We all work hard. There wasn't a guy on the team unprepared this year," said McCain. "I think everyone prepares the same. No matter who jumped in, we adjust to the people we have, the personnel. We don't just throw anybody in and go freely. We get better as a defense from the people in there."

McCain gave a lot of credit to fellow cornerback Antwon Blake, who also stepped up in the absence of Taylor and Cortez Allen.

Photos of the 2014 Cornerbacks.

"Being here, the defense, everybody loves the defense," said McCain. "There is no guy different than anyone else. Everybody prepares the same way, works the same. Everybody works hard here. I was fortunate to be the guy to come in and help this team with Blake."

McCain, who signed a one-year deal with the Steelers last year after spending the previous five with the Houston Texans, will be an unrestricted free agent in March. But he wants to stay right where he is and is already looking at what he can improve on for next season.

"It's just a vibe you get from these guys," said McCain. "The best will play no matter the circumstances. They gave me an opportunity and I appreciated it.

"Coach (Mike Tomlin) said I can be more into the defense, control more things. The better I know it will help. There are so many things you can do in the defense. The more time in it I can control it as a nickel."

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