Steelers CB Ike Taylor at practice Tuesday

Rich Schultz

The veteran Steelers cornerback has long been considered the mouthpiece for the Steelers defense. That may be one of his few remaining roles for the team as it transitions into the next generation of defensive players.

If nothing else, practice would seem more fun if Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor was involved.

He missed the team's first three OTAs practices last week, but according to media reports, he's there Tuesday as the Steelers kick off the middle week of Football in Shorts.

Taylor received a paycut this offseason, agreeing to reduce his base salary down to $2.75 million in order to remain with the team. Taylor greeted the news enthusiastically, proclaiming he gets to retire with the team he started with back in 2004.

Taylor has been a starting cornerback with the Steelers since the 2006 season, and absent a broken leg that cost him the last four games in 2012, he didn't miss one start from 2007 through Week 12.

He may not even start in 2014, given the outstanding play of William Gay, and the development of Cortez Allen, but Taylor, a known fitness guru, can still be considered an asset. Part of his contributions should be his leadership. Allen is still finding his way and the Steelers are still developing Antwon Blake. They also signed Brice McCain to a free agent contract, all part of an effort to rebuild the team's aging secondary.

Taylor has been the lightning rod for the Steelers' defense for many years. His brashness and bravado stood out from many less talkative players, making himself something of the team's sounding board on the field. Whether he can still maintain that role in 2014 remains to be seen, but he's faced much steeper obstacles before and that hasn't silenced him yet.

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