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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.