Cornerback Ike Taylor takes the job of talking to the media seriously. He never refuses an interview, never shies away from talking when things are going well, or not so well, approaching it the same way no matter what the circumstances.
That is why the Pittsburgh Chapter of the Pro Football Writers of America voted him this year's winner of the "Chief Award," established in honor of Steelers' founder, Arthur J. Rooney, Sr. and presented annually to the member of the Steelers' organization who best exemplifies the spirit of cooperation with the media that Rooney did.
"I understand what comes with the territory," said Taylor. "I understand where the reporters are coming from now that I have my own radio show. I take notes from them and understand what they are looking for and try to be available at all times.
"The radio show lets me know they have to write stories, they have to get their opinions out there, regardless of whether you like it or not. Talking to reporters good or bad comes with the territory."
Taylor isn't afraid to show a little bit of himself when he does interviews either, whether it's wearing a crazy Christmas hat like he did one day last week, having fun with the international media while the team was in London, or wearing his emotions on his sleeve like he did last week when Super Bowl XLV came up, Taylor wasn't afraid to admit, "I cried after that game."
It's those things and more that make him more than a deserving winner of the award.
"It's good for you to talk," said Taylor. "You start to get the credibility of being a standup guy. That is all you can ask for."
The award takes on extra special meaning for Taylor because it is named after Arthur J Rooney, Sr. Taylor has an extremely close relationship with Dan Rooney Sr., "The Chief's" son, so winning an award with the Rooney name on it brings great pride to Taylor.
"It's an honor, especially carrying the Rooney name, it representing Mr. (Dan) Rooney's dad," said Taylor. "I will put that on my resume. It means a whole lot to me."
"The Chief Award" Winners:
|1988||Dan Rooney||2001||Lee Flowers|
|1989||Dwayne Woodruff||2002||Hines Ward|
|1990||Merril Hoge||2003||Mike Logan|
|1991||Gerald Williams||2004||Jerome Bettis|
|1992||Tunch Ilkin||2005||Alan Faneca|
|1993||D.J. Johnson||2006||Brett Keisel|
|1994||Rod Woodson||Deshea Townsend|
|1995||Levon Kirkland||2007||Alan Faneca|
|1996||Chad Brown||2008||Ryan Clark|
|1997||Darren Perry||2009||James Farrior|
|1998||Jerome Bettis||2010||Ben Roethlisberger|
|1999||Lee Flowers||2011||James Farrior|
|2000||Jerome Bettis||2012||Casey Hampton|