The Steelers first minicamp walk-thru was just finishing up, and Ike Taylor stood alongside Coach Mike Tomlin, talking to him and taking in as much as he could as the knowledge shared is invaluable.
It's a sight that's been commonplace over the last month, as Taylor has been working with the Steelers' coaching staff during OTAs and minicamp, getting a feel for what it would be like to take that next step in football.
"It's a whole different world," said Taylor. "My boss is still Coach Tomlin. Just sitting in the meetings with the coaches, listening a lot, writing down a lot of notes, and every blue moon I will put my two cents in.
"At the same time it's just good to be around the guys. The transition for me has been real smooth. It's another phase in my life. I have to work myself from the bottom and try to get to the top."
Taylor retired from the NFL back in April after playing all 12 seasons with the Steelers. He has begun to pursue a career in broadcasting, doing work for NFL Network and attending the NFL's Broadcast Boot Camp.
But getting into coaching, working with the players, it's something that interests him and when the opportunity arose, he had to give it a shot.
"It you just look at it from a coaching standpoint, this window is super small," said Taylor. "I am able to come in right now as soon as I retire and sit in his staff meetings, understand how he works, understand what the coaches think, understand just how to get the team better. I thought I can do broadcasting, hopefully that window will be there. But this coaching window is a short window so I might as well take advantage of it."
Taylor said he already has gained a wealth of knowledge about the coaching business, but one thing he really learned, was that coaching has no set hours.
"There is no clock," said Taylor. "Some days you might get out at 5 o'clock. Other days you might get out at 10 or 12. Coach T said it best. I came in to one of the meetings my first day with a couple cups of coffee and I was like this is going to be a long one. He straight told me we get paid off of wins and losses, not the time, so whatever time you need to put in. Some days are going to be shorter than others, just understand we are in this business to win and make these guys better. Once he told me that, from day one I was like, okay, I know what time it is."
Overall it's been an interesting transition for Taylor, since last year during minicamp he was a player, and now he is helping some of his former teammates as well as players new to the team.
"They always called me the big brother before," said Taylor. "They are getting confused if they should call me Coach Ike or Ike or big bro. It's been fun just watching these young guys grow, not only on the field, but off the field. That is what's really important to me. Just watching people grow, people flourish, become boys to men means a lot to me.
"One of my goals is to help this organization out and this team out as much as possible, but if I could just get one guy to progress on and off the field, from being a boy to a professional, and a boy to a man. I just want to get one guy and try to change his life."