You’d think a cornerback who played 12 seasons in the National Football League would have more than 14 career interceptions. Then again, this is Ike Taylor we are talking about and “Ike Taylor” and “interceptions” have never exactly gone together like peanut butter and jelly.
With that said, Ike Taylor had an excellent career and while he won’t get the national play that Troy Polamalu did, Taylor had a significant hand in three Super Bowl appearances and two Lombardi Trophies.
He was the epitome of the Dick LeBeau-style cornerback who kept the play in front of him and then “tackled the catch” as he was taught to do.
Much like I felt with Polamalu, Taylor’s retirement probably comes a couple of years later than it should have. The first sign of his deterioration was in the team’s dubious loss to Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos when Taylor was beaten by DeMaryius Thomas for the game-winner.
I didn’t put that play on all Taylor as many did because I thought LeBeau should have never left the middle of the field wide open like that but either way, it was a sign that Ike Taylor was slowing down.
What I’ll remember most about Taylor was his interception in the Super Bowl XL win over Seattle and his grueling runs up and down the hill in Latrobe every day after practice. There were few players who got as much out of themselves as Taylor did who became somewhat famous for his offseason conditioning.
His relationship with Steelers’ Owner Dan Rooney has been one of great admiration and his respect within the organization is high.
Championship teams are never comprised of 100% all-stars because even the greatest teams need players like Ike Taylor who do their job to support the more high-profile players.
There’s no question that time has passed him by and that this is the right decision but he should know Steelers Fans have great appreciation for him. Few have worked harder and gotten more out of themselves than Ike Taylor has.