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Ike Taylor Knows Why It Was Him, Even If He Doesn’t Like It


As we covered yesterday, Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor talked publicly for the first time about his misgivings about the organization that he’s been with his entire career asking him to take a pay cut early this offseason.

The 12th-year veteran was scheduled to earn a base salary of $7 million in 2014, the final year of his contract, and he took a $4.25 million pay cut, which was higher than most had predicted that he would be asked to accept.

Earlier, he talked about the decision to accept the pay cut, saying that he is still making a lot of money, and pointing out that he has witnessed some of his own teammates decline the pay cut and go on to regret it.

Taylor said yesterday that it still hurts that he was the one asked to give up a large portion of his salary to this day. “‘Why me?’ Like, I didn’t show my loyalty?”, he said.

You want to talk about a guy who’s going to come in in-shape, not waiting to build up into shape when he gets to camp. Or you want to talk about a guy who’s unselfish and puts his team before his family and friends, you want to talk about a guy who has loyalty, yeah, it’s me. When you come to me and ask me for a pay cut, I’m like ‘Damn, out of all these people, you want to ask Ike?’.

Yet with all that said, Taylor likely understands better than anybody that he was naturally the most likely candidate to be approached about taking the pay cut to help the team—some reasons fair, some, perhaps, not.

As Taylor himself said, he is a guy who is all about loyalty. He understands that the relationships that he has built over the years is more important than a few million at the end of a playing career, as is staying in the same system rather than trying to adapt in your mid-30s.

Possessing that loyalty and understanding naturally makes one more inclined to accept sacrifices on behalf of the team. Surely James Harrison regrets not accepting that pay cut last offseason, and Taylor saw that.

Taylor also saw, and even acknowledged, that his play last year was far below his own standards, and he offers no compelling reason to justify a sudden turnaround a year later. He knows that his position has a shorter lifespan than many others, including safety, which is (partly) why Troy Polamalu received an extension.

It’s hard to argue that Taylor was not the ideal candidate to accept the pay cut this season. It provided the team the greatest relief; it came after a significant down season; and it was offered to perhaps the most loyal person on the team.

But nobody will ever enjoy taking money out of their own pocket, regardless of how justified it is or how beneficial it might be to that individual in other ways—in this case giving the organization more money to build a stronger roster around him.

Taylor signed a four-year, $28 million contract, and he now will be missing out on $4.25 million of what the two parties mutually agreed to. That will hurt for anybody. But he is a veteran and he understands how this works.

The organization also knows that he has always been one to speak candidly, and they’ve never tried to reel him in on that front. He’s entitled to hold and voice his thoughts on being the one to be asked to make the sacrifice for the team. But he also does understand why he was the one chosen to bear that responsibility.

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About Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.
  • 20Stoney

    Everything he said is true. But it all comes down to salary vs the play on the field. He was smart to let go of his pride and take the cut.

  • steeltown

    $2.75MIL is far better than the vet minimum

  • Kurt Williams

    Everyone on the defense except Cam Heyward and Troy P should have taken a paycut. They were run on, rarely sacked the QB and didn’t generate enough turnovers. With that, I understand where Ike is coming from. Again, no one wants a paycut but his salary was one of the highest on the team coupled with his age it had to be done.

  • ATL96STEELER

    The Steelers are nothing if not loyal…they rewarded a lot of vets after the GB loss and most were not going to play up to the contract standard at the end…Ike was an extension of that imo…based on production LY, he should’ve been released…I think he was rewarded by being allowed to finish out his deal.

    No tears shed…like Ike said…he’s made it…these guys were rewarded with good contracts and Ike should be well positioned financially regardless of this year…’14 is a nice retirement bonus imo..

  • Eric MacLaurin

    I’m good with Ike’s state of mind. Getting ready for the season means convincing yourself that you’re just better than everyone else. That requires a little more denial each birthday after 30.

    I think the loyalty issue has to look at the fact that the team chose him over Lewis out of loyalty and respect of Ike as a person for exactly the reasons he mentioned. Without that loyalty he would he gone to another team and Lewis would be here.

    Getting old is a series of realizations of how little respect people really have for you as a person as opposed to what financial value you have to them. It takes time to adjust to that as part of nature instead of people changing.

  • IckyD

    And he isn’t exactly poor after all these years- i hope [looking at you, Warren Sapp]

  • treeher

    He’s lucky to be resigned this year after last year’s debacle. And he knows it. Teams don’t shell out millions for loyalty. They pay for performance. If you can demand a raise when you do good, you should take your medicine when you do bad. Not a hard concept.

  • Steelers12328882

    I totally understand the frustration of taking away 4.25 mil from what was already agreed upon, but what is all this talk about loyalty? It’s not like players can just choose who they want to play for from game to game or season to season. The idea of loyalty in the business of professional sports is completely laughable. You’re under contract. The Steelers and Ike agreed upon a contract that made him the highest paid Steelers CB in their history. Nobody was forced to sign anything.

  • cencalsteeler

    Your pay is a reflection of your play. C’mon Ike! You gracefully had us when you agreed to the paycut, but now this? This issue he has is self inflicted. Sure, you can come into camp in shape (his comment to this sort of throws his teammates under the bus, ala Clark), but you must produce on the field. His tackling skills warranted his paycut and in the back of his mind, he knows the truth. Bottom line, his most recent statements didn’t do him any justice. He should have just kept quiet and counted his blessings.

  • Matt Manzo

    I’m impressed that he can voice his frustration, but not make it mean something else. Fox or the other network could have a field day with this. But Ike is just saying he’s bummed, not F the Steelers!

  • walter mason

    I dont have a problem with what he said.

  • Douglas Andrews

    No problem with Ike voicing his displeasure. That would sting for any player but as Dave pointed out he saw how not taking the pay cut worked out for James Harrison. Looking at both sides Ike’s gotten 2 nice contracts with the Steelers one that made him the highest paid CB in franchise history, so i’m sure he’s far from hurting for money.

  • Dan

    I just listened to the link from the Jim Rome show. Sounds like he just agreed to do a call in interview and Rome led the direction of the interview. Did he seek out the interview? Maybe, maybe not. But his comments were all perfectly reasonable. Just a little minor venting when he was asked a direct question. Seemed real & genuine. Didn’t seem like any kind of call for attention. Even though it did make headlines, he certainly could have made the media circuit, but he didn’t. I’ll give him a pass on this one and hope he really shines this year.

  • Ryan

    Id throw Timmons in there Cam and Troy to. Hes not asked to rush the QB very often so his sack numbers are never high but he does what hes asked to do without complaint and does excellent in run support and coverage.

  • Virdin Barzey

    He wasn’t going to get that salary anywhere he went so lets get real Ike. You’re past your prime, still can play but its about the team and they need you to take a cut or get cut. You making more than you would if you signed with another team so get over it. Its business and the team did it with respect.

  • Kurt Williams

    Absolutely, my bad on that one. LT is definitely underrated.

  • Jim McCarley

    If the Steelers were even the least bit lucky in drafting CBs, Ike would have been gone a long time ago. He does not move well, he always seems to play awkwardly. I never cared for his play, but that is just my opinion. This will be his last year, so he needs to just enjoy it, play the game and hush. IMO.

  • joed32

    If he had any ball skills we wouldn’t have been able to afford him for all these years. He was an excellent cover corner.

  • Steeler Fanatic

    He got paid very well for not having ball skills. $7M per year to play off coverage and tackle the ball… not too shabby. Ike seems to forget he had guys who could get to the pass rusher and make his life easier.

  • Steeler Fanatic

    It was so refreshing when Ike agreed to take the pay cut. Now this. This may be cutting your nose to spite your face, but I’d cut him now. Go find work Ike. You would never gotten anything but just above the league minimum. Why do these guys think they are entitled to get paid until their I the twilight of their careers. This isn’t baseball. He could have turned down the pay cut. Why him he asks? Because he was the epitome of an aging below-average corner last year. Way to slap the Rooneys in the face. I appreciate what he has done over the course of his career, but all that good will went out the door with his bs comments to of all people, Jim Rome. Why didn’t you cry foul to Ed Bouchette or the Mark Kaboly? Because that would have been too close to home? Cut him and let Blake, Thomas and the rookie fill the roles as nickel and dime players.

  • SixburghFan

    A husband with a history of back problems comes home from a hard, fulfilling day of work.
    When he walks in the door, his wife asks him, “How’s your back feeling?”
    The man answers, “It’s tight.”
    The wife responds, “Stop your f—ing complaining.”
    The man stares at her dumbfounded… “I wasn’t complaining. I was just answering the question honestly. Should I have lied to you instead?”
    Answering a question isn’t complaining, any more than it is ‘crying foul’.

  • Steeler Fanatic

    So you are comparing a guy injured to a millionaire football player? Interesting.

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