Too Bad So Sad For Pittsburgh Steelers Ike Taylor


Dec 8, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Miami Dolphins wide receiver Brian Hartline (82) keeps both feet in bounds to score a four yard touchdown against Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor (24) during the third quarter at Heinz Field. The Miami Dolphins won 34-28. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Steelers Ike Taylor was on The Jim Rome Show on Monday and was probably about as vocally angry as one has probably ever heard Taylor display.  While his tone was not as emotionally expressive, his words were biting when he expressed his anger over having to take a pay cut from the Steelers for this upcoming season.

"I’m pissed off about it, still am pissed off about it and I’m going to be pissed off until the end of the season about it.  Did it hurt me? Hell yeah. Does it still hurt? Yeah, it hurts, but hopefully I can go in and bounce back this year, do what I need to do on the field and we will see what happens after.     – Ike Taylor on The Jim Rome Show"

It’s rather unusual to hear a player be all roses and rainbows after taking a pay cut for their team.  The majority of the time, a team becomes cap strapped and look to players who are long time vets to shave a little off the top in order to give teams a fighting chance in keeping or bringing in free agents.  But, fans usually don’t hear this type of dissent from a player.  Usually there’s a soundbite about wanting to do what is best for the team, etc.  This lashing out from Taylor is rather uncharacteristic, and it’s rather uncharacteristic of the situation.  So what happened?

Taylor might be angry, but I hope he’s not angry at the wrong people.  He should only be angry with himself, and if not, then too bad so sad.  As someone else commented on another Steelers forum, I wonder if Taylor just stared at the page and dropped his pen when Omar handed him the new contract that had him take a $4.25 million pay cut.

There’s really only one person here to blame for being in this situation, and that’s Ike Taylor himself.  His drastically fading performance last season forced the defense to move him from facing the top receivers in the league, to facing a team’s #2 guy – something the Steelers weren’t quite prepared for.  It put them in a precarious situation, and opened up the ol’ “Need to draft a corner” can o’ worms that the front office heard about ad nauseam from fans and the media.

The Steelers have always done something very well over the last decade when it comes to signing players – giving them what they are worth.  And for the Steelers front office, Ike Taylor played more like a $2.75 million corner rather than a $7 million corner.  Plain and simple.  They used his poor performance coupled with his age as leverage in order to get him to agree to the pay cut.  It was a strong play by the team.  What choice did Taylor have?  Take it or be cut.  Seems pretty clear cut to me.

Taylor is angry and it’s more than likely because he knew his back was against the wall.  Don’t take the pay cut, and the team more than likely would send him packing after the draft.  What choice did he have realistically?  Find another team willing to take a slowed corner who gets burned and also has hands of stone?  Good luck with that, buster.  No no, Taylor knew full well what he was looking at when he walked into that office suite.

"I had seen a few guys who didn’t take pay cuts and went to other teams and it didn’t work out for them. So, at the end of the day, I didn’t want to leave Pittsburgh, point blank, period.  Just hearing from other guys coming from other teams and being on the team with Pittsburgh, they say it’s like no other; it’s like day and night, so I’ll listen."

Bingo.  Taylor recognizes that he’s got it good here with the Steelers.  It was either take the cut or hang up the cleats.  So he listened.  Listened to the guy on his one shoulder who knew $2.75 million was better than $0 million.  Smart move.  It’s too bad it came down to this, but Taylor really has only himself to blame.