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Thread: After 'so-so' season, Steelers CB Ike Taylor happy to be back, pay cut and all

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    Hall of Famer SteelCrazy's Avatar
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    After 'so-so' season, Steelers CB Ike Taylor happy to be back, pay cut and all

    PITTSBURGH Ike Taylor knows the days when he can pull his No. 24 Pittsburgh Steelers jersey over his shoulders and go to work are dwindling.

    The 34-year-old cornerback might be the self-appointed king of "swag," but he's also a realist. When the Steelers approached him about taking a pay cut or being released for salary cap purposes, Taylor practically scrambled to grab a pen, even though it means he'll make barely a third of the $7 million he was originally scheduled to earn in 2014 under his previous deal.

    "You have to decide if you're going to put your pride aside when that time comes, and that time came," Taylor said Tuesday after joining his teammates for organized team activities. "Millions is millions no matter how you look at it, and that's how I look at it."

    Besides, the view is still pretty sweet. There aren't too many fourth-round picks who stick around for more than a decade, and even fewer who have played one of the game's most demanding positions with Taylor's consistency.

    Never blessed with anything remotely resembling soft hands which explains why he has just 14 interceptions in 11 seasons Taylor has built a reputation and a career out of decent speed, good instincts and even better tackling. Those traits failed him at times in 2013, a year he describes as just "so-so" and one in which he lost his spot as Pittsburgh's No. 1 cornerback to Cortez Allen.

    Yet the Steelers feel Taylor has enough left that there's no need to launch a search for an immediate replacement. They drafted Shaquille Richardson out of Arizona in the fifth round, and while Taylor praised the rookie's attitude, he also understands it takes at least one season, if not more, before a cornerback makes the leap required to thrive in Dick LeBeau's intricate 3-4 defense.

    The best Taylor figures to do is fend off the future for at least one more season. Pressed on if he believes this is his last fall in Pittsburgh, he just smiles.

    "I'm going to try to be the best teammate and going to be the best everything for this team and let the chips fall where they fall," he said.

    Last season, Taylor found himself no longer following the opposing team's best receiver all over the field. Instead, he spent most of December relegated to one side, while Allen often drew the toughest assignment. It wasn't something Taylor took personally. Allen had the breakout season the Steelers were counting on. The fact it coincided with a small slip in Taylor's play turned out to be coincidental.

    Taylor insists he and Allen are still 1A and 1B, Allen serving as "Batman" to Taylor's "Joker," with nickelback William Gay playing "Robin." Maybe, but the trio understand they need to get their hands on a few more passes in 2014 to help the Steelers break out of their current bout with mediocrity. Pittsburgh has just 20 interceptions over the last two seasons, both of which ended with 8-8 records and a spot on the couch during the playoffs.

    At the moment, Taylor and safety Troy Polamalu are the only two players atop the defensive depth chart in their 30s, as the Steelers try to get younger and faster. While Polamalu remains the lone holdout from OTAs as is his custom Taylor joked he's not worried about the 33-year-old's preparation.

    "He's probably somewhere up in the mountains with the monks praying," Taylor said, tongue firmly in cheek. "So, you've got to let Troy be Troy, but when he comes back he'll be Jesus on the field."

    Taylor is kidding, of course, though he understands that even as the Steelers prepare for life without him, he and the lingering graybeards can play a significant role on a team at the end of a youth movement.

    "I've got to have the energy, have the mindset to lead the young guys," he said. "They don't know what it takes to make the playoffs. They don't know what it takes to win Super Bowls. But I do, and we have a few guys left who do."

    NOTES: Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was excused from practice for personal reasons. ... Third-round pick Dri Archer joined his teammates on the field Tuesday for the first time during OTAs. Archer took part of the NFL rookie symposium last week.

    http://www.dailyjournal.net/view/sto.../#.U45jByDD_IU

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    Ultimate team player. Taylor could easily have taken the JH route and taken offense to the paycut but he decided finishing his career intact with the Steelers was of more value than the possible free agent contract. I respect that. (I don't disrespect JH but feel he took things a little too personally and the fact that he has interest in coming back to the team seems to back that up.)

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    Legend papillon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NorthCoast View Post
    UTP

    Ultimate team player. Taylor could easily have taken the JH route and taken offense to the paycut but he decided finishing his career intact with the Steelers was of more value than the possible free agent contract. I respect that. (I don't disrespect JH but feel he took things a little too personally and the fact that he has interest in coming back to the team seems to back that up.)
    I really expected nothing less from Ike, he's been a great Steeler for over a decade and if the fans can't see that, shame on them. Even if Richardson overtakes him this year as the #2, Ike will remain an awesome teammate and help where he can, good on Ike.

    Pappy


    1.15) Ryan Shazier - ILB/OLB
    2.46) Stephon Tuitt - DE
    3.97) Dri Archer - RB
    4.118 ) Martavis Bryant - WR
    5.157) Shaquille Richardson - CB
    6.173) Wesley Johnson - OT
    6.192) Jordan Zumwalt - ILB
    7.215) Daniel McCullers - DT
    7.230) Rob Blanchflower - TE

    "Before you can win a game, you have to not lose it." -- Chuck Noll

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    Hall of Famer Sugar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by papillon View Post
    I really expected nothing less from Ike, he's been a great Steeler for over a decade and if the fans can't see that, shame on them. Even if Richardson overtakes him this year as the #2, Ike will remain an awesome teammate and help where he can, good on Ike.

    Pappy
    Ike also seemed to develop a relationship with Mr. Rooney. Sometimes those things end up meaning more than the dollars.

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    Legend hawaiiansteel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sugar View Post
    Ike also seemed to develop a relationship with Mr. Rooney. Sometimes those things end up meaning more than the dollars.

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    Legend hawaiiansteel's Avatar
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    Steelers OTAs: Ike Taylor is Joker, Cortez Allen is Batman and Will Gay is Robin

    By Dale Grdnic on Jun 3 2014



    Steelers loquacious cornerback Ike Taylor speaks on the secondary putting up Superhero-level performances this year during OTAs Tuesday. He tagged himself as the villain, though.

    PITTSBURGH -- The Joker is back in Pittsburgh.

    That's No. 24, cornerback Ike Taylor, for those wondering if a new Batman movie was filming in the city. Batman and Robin are here as well. Those heroes are played by Cortez Allen and Will Gay, as far as Taylor is concerned.

    When asked if he and Allen were ranked No. 1a and 1b at cornerback for the Steelers, Taylor said that both were Batman. When told that there couldn't be two Batmans, Taylor offered an alternative.

    "Well, I'll put it to you like this,'' Taylor said. "Cortez is Batman. I'm Joker, and Gay is Robin. I like that one.''

    Since the Steelers didn't select a cornerback in the first round this year like many believed, they clearly are counting on super-hero performances from Taylor, Allen and Gay, even though this could be the finale for Taylor, a 12-year NFL veteran.

    "All I know is that I'm going to enjoy myself and help this team as much as possible,'' Taylor said. "I'm going to try to be the best teammate and going to be the best everything for this team and let the chips fall where they fall. (But) I can't tell you the last time they went with a corner in the first round.

    "Chad Scott. I guess I just told you, but they've got the formula. They go with a corner in the third or fourth round (Shaquille Richardson in the fifth this year), and they've had three Super Bowl appearances and won two. So, it works. (And) they've been doing this for years. They always draft somebody who was under the radar or somebody where you would be like, 'holy moly.' ''

    Taylor already has complimented Richardson, but believed the Steelers didn't need additions to an already talented secondary that just needs a chance.

    "The first thing (about Richardson) is that he's got the attitude, and that's what you need to have as a corner,'' Taylor said. "So, he's definitely got the attitude that you need to play corner. Everything else will fall along, but you've got to have that attitude. (But) you've still got to give Cortez a chance.

    "Keenan went and got paid. Cortez has to get a chance. You drafted Shaq, and you've got to give Will Gay a chance. You can talk about keep drafting guys, but that's for a rebuilding process. And right now, we're not in the mode for rebuilding. ... So, there's a few guys where their time is right now.

    "Cortez is one of those guys, and Will Gay is still one of those guys,'' Taylor added. "Will Gay, I think last year was one of his best years here, and Cortez was breaking out by the end of last season. So, you've got to give them a chance. (And) they've been texting me about the defense and said it's like a track meet on defense from the line all the way back to the secondary.''

    Gay's texts aside, Taylor noted "there's no question'' that he's still one of the club's super-fast guys. But he also acknowledged that he has had to make some adjustments to his training this year.

    "The older you get, the more detail and the more you appreciate your coaches as far as being a technician (with) no wasted movements,'' Taylor said. "So, it's just a fine line, but I look at myself before and after the season. And I'm pretty hard on myself. So, I know what I need to work on.

    "(And) every year, regardless of what kind of year we had and regardless of what kind of year I had, I take a look at myself before and after the season. (And) I had a so-so year, but if you play long enough, you're going to have a so-so year. And I didn't like that. I feel like you have to be honest with yourself, regardless of what it is in life, and you've got to get better.

    "(But) I've been going through the same routine, as far as going through it with Coach Shaw (noted speed coach Tom Shaw), and started lifted a little bit heavier to feel a little bit stronger,'' Taylor added. "I felt the past couple of years that I wasn't lifting the way that I should've been. And just being stronger, at the same time, but I'm just happy to be out here.''

    Taylor also commented on a variety of other topics.

    On Troy Polamalu:
    "Troy's doing good,'' Taylor said. "Troy, around this time, he's probably somewhere up in the mountains with the monks praying. So, you've got to let Troy be Troy, but when he comes back he'll be Jesus on the field.''

    On James Harrison and Santonio Holmes returning to Pittsburgh:
    "All I can do is be a player agent,'' Taylor said. "James Harrison probably is in the best shape. (And) Tone is looking real good. He's solid, like a little rock that can move. But James Harrison, by far, probably is the best shape that I've seen him. (So), I'm being a player agent, but that doesn't mean anybody will listen to me.''

    And if they sign with the Steelers?
    "Then, somebody's got to slip me something,'' Taylor said. "But cash only. Please, don't write me any checks.''

    On him taking a huge pay cut this year:
    "My salary is a lot of money ... for anybody,'' Taylor said. "So, I've been fortunate enough to be making a lot of money since '05. And you have to decide if you're going to put your pride aside when that time comes, and that time came. Millions are millions no matter how you look at it, and that's how I look at it.''

    Notes: Dri Archer also returned to the Steelers Tuesday for OTAs after spending last week "at an NFL rookie event.'' ... Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger missed Tuesday due to a family matter. ... There was a brief skirmish Tuesday between linebacker Vic So'oto and offensive guard Will Simmons. ... OTAs continue Wednesday and Thursday this week.

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com...aylor-comments

  7. #7
    Ok the author needs to do some research. Taylor doesn't have decent speed (well maybe now) but he was a sub 4.3 guy in his prime. Rumor is he was clocked sub 4.2 in college.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shawn View Post
    Ok the author needs to do some research. Taylor doesn't have decent speed (well maybe now) but he was a sub 4.3 guy in his prime. Rumor is he was clocked sub 4.2 in college.


    i think that 4.2 was his catch percentage
    1) CB D Dennard
    2) OLB R Shazier
    3) DE J Ellis
    4) WR M Bryant
    5a) OG D Yankey
    5b) OLB J Tripp
    6a) RB D Archer
    6b) NT D McCullers
    7) WR J Janis

  9. #9
    On him taking a huge pay cut this year:
    "My salary is a lot of money ... for anybody,'' Taylor said. "So, I've been fortunate enough to be making a lot of money since '05. And you have to decide if you're going to put your pride aside when that time comes, and that time came. Millions are millions no matter how you look at it, and that's how I look at it.''

    Ike has been characterized as a dumb fellow, but sounds to me like an astute man. He's still making millions, when he could be either out on the street, or making far less money. He made a lot better decision than a lot of "brainier" players do.

    In the other thread, the discussion is about players who are leaders...Though Ike is not the kind who is a screamer, never was all-pro, and his play has declined the past couple of years, he always works out hard and seems to be able to influence others to follow his example...I'd say he is a leader.

  10. #10
    Legend RuthlessBurgher's Avatar
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    I've heard many folks say that "Robin is gay" but this is the first time that I've heard anyone say "Gay is Robin"

    Ike, Cortez, and Gay now have to worry about being referred to as the Ambiguously Gay Trio.

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