Chances are good that Ike Taylor and Larry Foote will remain associated with NFL this fall, but most likely in different capacities.
In his article in Monday's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Steelers beat-man Gerry Dulac stated both Taylor and Foote are seeking alternative ways to remain close to the game if their respective playing careers are over.
Dulac stated Taylor has been in contact with NFL Network and NFL Films to contribute as on-air talent, and Foote has had conversations with Cardinals coach Bruce Arians about retiring but staying on as an assistant coach.
Taylor has already had experience with NFL Network, as he has offered his analysis of players named to the network's yearly "Top-100" current players features. Despite never being named to a Pro Bowl, Taylor was a quality cornerback for the Steelers after becoming a regular starter in 2005, his third season. Taylor put forth four impressive playoff showings that season, holding Bengals receiver Chad Johnson, Colts wide-out Marvin Harrison, Broncos receiver Rod Smith and Seakawks receiver Darrell Jackson to under 100 receiving yards with no touchdowns, respectively. Pittsburgh won each game which culminated with their 21-10 victory over the Seahawks in Super Bowl XL.
Foote rebounded nicely this past season after playing in just one game in 2013 due to a ruptured biceps injury sustained in a Week One loss to the Titans, his final game with the Steelers. Foote started in 15 games for the Cardinals in 2014 and tallied 83 tackles with two sacks and one interception, but at age 35 and after 13 seasons, Foote doesn't think his body can withstand another season, prompting him to inquire about coaching opportunities on Arizona's defensive staff.
"He feels good and he played very well for us last season," Arians said. "But we want to have him around because of what he means in the locker room. If he feels he can play, he might."
If both Foote and Taylor decide to hang up the cleats, it would leave Troy Polamalu and James Harrison as the only two active players who started on the team's historic 2008 defense which spearheaded Pittsburgh's Super Bowl run. That defense allowed a league-low 13.9 points per game while allowing just 12 touchdown passes and recording 20 picks. Led by Harrison, the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year in 2008, the Steelers also allowed an amazing 3.3 yards per rush.