Taylor: 'I call myself a Steeler'

Ike Taylor might not haven taken part in the Steelers' OTAs yet, but rest assured, he is hard at work. Taylor spends the majority of his offseason working out in Florida with performance Coach Tom Shaw, getting his body and mind ready for the football season.

While he isn't with his teammates right now, he can't wait to be back in Pittsburgh, back with the team that he loves so much that he reportedly agreed to a pay cut to play out the last year of his contract with the Steelers.

Taylor weighed in on why staying with the Steelers was important to him, his workouts and more.


Top photos of cornerback Ike Taylor.

Why is it so important to you to remain with the Steelers for your entire career?**
I always want to be a Steeler. I don't want to ever put on another jersey. I want to retire a Pittsburgh Steeler. That is what it boils down. I call myself a Rooney, I call myself a (Dick) LeBeau, and I call myself a Steeler. That is how I feel.

Have you talked to other players who left, got a feel from them what it's like?
Talking to Joey Porter I was like it's my 12th year, I know things are going to come about and him telling me the grass isn't always greener on the other side. Learning from past experiences from teammates who have left and some who came back, and hearing what it was like in other places. I soaked all of that in.

You have one year left on your contact. Do you have a good year of football still in you?
I feel good. I have been banged up. I have had bruises, injuries, and a lot of stuff. I have just been working through it. I feel like this year I am finally healthy and it's going to be a good year for me and the organization.

Regardless of what my contract says, I am going to stretch it out as much as possible. This is what I like to do. I like OTAs training camp minicamp training camp, I like going through it with the guys, I like going through the process. I am not going anywhere. I am lifer. When it comes to Pittsburgh, I am a lifer.

There are a lot of new faces in the locker room. Is that a good thing?Change is good, regardless of whether you want to face it or not. There are a lot of new guys here.  It's Troy (Polamalu) and I, Ben (Roethlisberger) and Heath (Miller) from the last two Super Bowls.

The defense has added some speed this offseason. Was that needed?
Speed and attitude go hand in hand. We have the speed on paper and we have to translate that on the field. We need that attitude, be aggressive and have everyone respect us on the field.

We have a lot of young guys that got some playing experience last year and they are ready now. A lot of those guys got experience and are ahead of the game. That helps a lot. The draft picks help.

You are a workout warrior in the offseason. Are you doing your normal workouts with Coach Tom Shaw this year?
There isn't anything normal this year. I feel like the last two years have been mediocre. I have been doing a whole lot more than what I used to do.

How have the workouts changed this offseason?
I am working more on explosiveness. Coach Shaw has gone back to the old school New Orleans workouts, you have to pass out before you come and talk to him. We drink the water, but we are going all the way in. I have been at my best when we had that mindset in the offseason. I said coach put me to the breaking point.

Have you been close to that breaking point?
A few times, but I felt better afterwards.

Are you exhausted afterwards?I am more mentally tired than anything. We train outside in the heat.  Football fields, track, mile trail in the woods. We do a lot of stuff. He is back to the old Coach Shaw and it's going to help everybody that is down there.

What drives you to work that hard?
That is just me. It burns inside me. I have a lot of pride. We as a team have a lot of pride. We just have to get back to the old Pittsburgh Steelers way, running and hitting, and I think we are in that direction.

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