Veteran Pittsburgh Steelers CB Ike Taylor has decided to follow in Troy Polamalu's foosteps and call it a career in the NFL. The long-time defensive back for Pittsburgh played for 12 years with the organization, and after an injury plagued 2014 decided to hang up the cleats for good.
Taylor's statistics might not show an incredible cornerback, but in his prime, Taylor was one of the best cover corners in the game. His inability to catch the football was always a knack against him, but what often went unnoticed was his ability to follow the opponent's best wide receiver and take them out of the game.
Taylor is as known as much for his play on the field, as his persona off it. Taylor became one of the vocal leaders for the defense in the final years of his tenure with the Steelers, and was always good for a quality sound byte in regards to the team's play. Taylor also has his own radio show on Trib Live Radio and is a fixture on the NFL Network and other TV venues.
Taylor had talked about playing in 2015, and possibly for long-time defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau with the Tennessee Titans, but when it came down to brass tacks, he realized it was Pittsburgh where he wanted to end his career.
"Other than having my son, playing for the Steelers has been the best experience in my entire lifetime," Taylor told Teresa Varley of Steelers.com. "It is rare, in this day of free agency that is super rare to play for one team. For me to have this opportunity says a lot about how they felt about me, what I gave back to the organization.
"I wasn't cut, I wasn't released. It was just my contract was up and it was time to retire. If you want to have pride, well that is the kind of pride I have, being able to play my contract out."
"From the time I walked in the door until the time I left, this is where I wanted to be," said Taylor. "How the organization is, the locker room, you see why we win. When I became a free agent twice it made my decision easy.
"The Steelers speak for themselves. When you talk about the Steelers, you talk about success. You talk about Pittsburgh, the first thing people talk about is the Steelers. There has been pride since the 1970's and we were able to recreate that pride in the 2000's. We went to three Super Bowls and won two. I thought that was the way it was supposed to be. We were loving each other and having so much fun in that locker room."
Taylor becomes just the latest player from those legendary defenses of the 2000's to step away from the game. Taylor will be missed by Steelers fans everywhere, and although his retirement won't get as much publicity as Polamalu's, the loss of Taylor will be felt both on and off the field within the organization.