Ike Taylor is just one of the many Pittsburgh Steelers that showed up for the first day of training camp yesterday, but it’s no surprise that he attracted one of the largest crowds. He’s simply a must-hear interview.
And as everybody is aware, this is in all probability the last season that Taylor will be giving interviews as a member of the Steelers.
Taylor, at the age of 34, is in the final year of his contract, and the Steelers are not expected to re-sign him after this season after asking him to take a multi-million pay cut to remain with the organization this season. They seem to have gotten it out of their systems to hang on to veterans well into their mid-30s.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean that the veteran cornerback has any plans of hanging it up in 2015, even if he claims to “live and bleed Pittsburgh”, where up until now he’s spent the entirety of his 12-year career.
While he said that he couldn’t see himself playing in anywhere but Pittsburgh, he admitted that he doesn’t know what will happen next year. His preference would be to keep playing with the Steelers, but he would have to consider playing elsewhere.
“Man, I didn’t want to be nowhere else”, Taylor said. “I can’t see myself nowhere else. Now, after this year, then I don’t know. Me just being with another team, man, it’s going to be hard”.
But how could he turn down the opportunity to continue playing after this season when he claims to, in his own words, “feel like a newborn baby”? Perhaps if he plays like a spry young Ike Taylor again this season he could continue to do so in the black and gold.
But that seems pretty unlikely at this point, even if his most recent campaign wasn’t necessarily as disastrous as certain statistics would have you believe when you actually watch his performance on tape and consider the game conditions.
Yes, he had his fair share of struggles, and probably had his worst season as a starter, but he believes that he played through a lot of injuries last season and that he feels much better than he has in years right now.
Even if he turns in another solid season, though, that doesn’t buy him another lap around Heinz Field, especially with the current youth movement taking place on both sides of the ball as the organization attempts to get back to the playoffs with a new group of players from the ones who went to multiple Super Bowls.
While many longtime Steelers do end up calling it a day once their number is called, there are those who do find life elsewhere in the twilight of their career. A few such players found new homes this offseason. Taylor could be another in 2015, even if it won’t be easy for “Little Rooney”:
It’s going to be hard telling Mr. Rooney. It’s going to be hard calling Kevin Colbert. It’s going to be hard talking to Coach T. It’s going to be hard talking to Coach LeBeau. It’s going to be hard talking to Troy…I understand their side. I understand they’ve got to make changes…But if you leave it up to me, I ain’t going nowhere else.