Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor was a guest Tuesday morning on the David Baumann Show on Sports Talk Florida and he talked about training year in and year out with renown trainer Tom Shaw as well as his belief that interceptions are overrated among other things.
At the beginning of the interview, Taylor was asked about why he has chosen to work out with Shaw for so many years.
“Why not?” shot back Taylor. “No first rounder, played cornerback for one year, played running back for one year and working out with him since I was in eighth grade, so he\’s like a father figure.
“This is going on 11 years for me. I was only supposed to be a special teams guru. I play the best opposing teams\’ wide receiver year in and year out. Never get credit for it because I don\’t catch interceptions, but if you look at my stats and the catch, pass ratio, I\’m No. 1 or No. 2 in that. Got two Super Bowl rings, so why not?”
Taylor was then asked to further explain the catch and defend ratio that he mentioned in his response.
“So, 14 interceptions in a ten year span, which means that I\’m not catching a lot of balls, but at the same time it means that the receivers aren\’t catching any balls either,” explained Taylor. “So I thought to be a shut down corner, yeah, you got guys – to catch interceptions means a defender got good hands, if you basically look at it. But if you got a guy that catch six or seven interceptions a year, but giving up seven to eight touchdowns throughout the year, how good or how bad is he hurting the team?”
Taylor was at one point asked during the interview if he thought that interceptions were overrated and if he has been overlooked as a top corner as a result.
“Very, very, very overrated,” said Taylor. “The reason why I say its overrated is because a lot of these guys who is getting a lot of interceptions, they aren\’t playing the No. 1 receiver. So you got to have a mindset, I only know a few guys who wants to play the teams opposing receiver week in and week out and the only reason why, is, if you do good, you\’re career can extend and if you do bad, you got a short career.
“So for me, just the way I was raised up, just my mentality, I cant play scared. For me to play the way I play, I like going against a teams\’ best opposing receiver. Now when my time comes and the coaching staff feels like I might cant do it, well then that time will come, but for the time being, that\’s what I like to do. I\’m not going to say it\’s easy just sitting on one side, but you kind of get in a rhyme sitting on one side. It\’s tough playing a teams\’ opposing receiver when you know that him and that quarterback are always on the same page, so you got to be on your P\’s and Q\’s every time.
“Yeah, catching interceptions, is that my downfall? For sure. It\’s alright, but if you just look at my stats, take a thorough look at my stats, and opposing receivers that I played and what I\’ve done, I\’m right up there.”
Taylor was then asked to explain at 33 years of age how he is still able to do what he does on the football field consistently.
“For the love of the game,” said Taylor.” For the people who say, \’You still can\’t do it.\’ For my son. For my family. For my friends, to give them something to talk about. I told you so kind of attitude. It\’s just a love for me. I love working out. I love working out with younger guys. I love proving myself and other guys wrong. I honestly don\’t know without football what I\’d be doing in life. So football right now is my life. I understand the business side of it. I understand there\’s a draft every year to get rid of me, so that pushes me, motivates me more and my drive is unbelievable when it comes to working out.”
As far as what else that Taylor wants to accomplish in his career, the Steelers former fourth-round draft pick gave an unsurprising response.
“I would like to get to the Pro Bowl one time, but for sure I would like to put myself in one more Super Bowl and win it,” said Taylor. “That\’s going to be the pinnacle for me. But for personal reasons, Pro Bowl, for team reasons, if we can get one more Super Bowl, that would be perfect.”
At the end of the interview Taylor was asked if he knew how much longer he intends to play.
“Man. whatever God gives me,” Taylor said. “I take it year by year. I\’m thinking four or five, but it\’s not up to me, it\’s up to God, it\’s up to the coaching staff, it\’s up to the organization and pretty much, it\’s just up to the situation in football as a business in general. So I understand that and all I can do is just come in, be in shape, be consistent and do what I do.”
I just love listening to Taylor\’s interviews, because he always speaks from the heart. He has been a great mentor to Cortez Allen and indeed very consistent in his play.
The Steelers will have a tough decision to make with Taylor next offseason as he will be entering the final year of his contract. His base salary in 2014 is currently scheduled to be $7 million, so he can expect to be asked to take a pay cut if he doesn\’t have a Pro Bowl season, and even that might not be enough to avoid a cut in salary.
The youth movement in the Steelers secondary is well underway and I know that Taylor is well aware of that. Will 2013 be his final year with the Steelers, or will he be able to continue to hold off Father Time? If the latter of the two happens, it will be even more of a testament as to why all players should be down in Florida every offseason training with Shaw.