Ike Taylor showed up at training camp with a video camera strapped to his chest and Google Glass attached to his sunglasses, recording his arrival for his 12th season with the Steelers for the team’s website.
Maybe that’s why Taylor, who has been a starting cornerback since 2005, softened some of the comments he made last month about having to take a $4.5 million pay cut to remain with the Steelers one final season.
Everything was being recorded, after all.
“I’m allowed to feel like that,” Taylor said. “That’s like asking you for a pay cut. You’re not going to like that. At the same time, you got to understand, it comes with the territory. You got 12 years in the game, it comes with the business. Regardless, I’m still here.”
Taylor, 34, was scheduled to make $7 million in base salary this season, the final year of his contract. But, after a season in which his role as a shutdown cornerback gradually diminished, the Steelers asked him to take a pay cut to $2.75 million — a reduction similar to the one offered Pro Bowl linebacker James Harrison after the 2012 season. Harrison refused to accept the deal and was released.
After dismissing the pay cut in interviews in the spring, Taylor offered an entirely different view during a national radio show after minicamp.
“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,” Taylor said on the Jim Rome Show. “Did it hurt me? Hell 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.”
Taylor softened his stance Friday while standing outside the dormitory at Saint Vincent College.
“I live and bleed Pittsburgh, I’m a yinzer, I’m a Steeler,” Taylor said. “The only thing I don’t do to be a yinzer is eat Primanti Brothers. Other than that, I’m Pittsburgh all the way down. My nickname is ‘Little Rooney.’ What else do you want from me?”
Two years ago, Pro Bowl nose tackle Casey Hampton agreed to a $3 million pay cut to remain with the team for his final season in 2012. Harrison, though, refused to accept a significant pay cut after the 2012 season and ended up signing a two-year, $4.45 million deal with the Cincinnati Bengals that was less than what the Steelers were offering.
Taylor didn’t want to make the same mistake, which is why he agreed to the salary cut.
“Man, I didn’t want to be nowhere else,” Taylor said. “I can’t see myself nowhere else. Now, after this year, then I don’t know. Me just being with another team, man, it’s going to be hard.
“It’s going to be hard telling Mr. [Dan] Rooney, it’s going to be hard calling Kevin Colbert, it’s going to be hard talking to coach [Mike Tomlin], it’s going to be hard talking to coach [Dick] LeBeau, it’s going to be hard talking to Troy [Polamalu].
Then he added: “I understand their side. I understand they have to make changes. But, if you leave it up to me, I ain’t going anywhere.”
Gerry Dulac: firstname.lastname@example.org and Twitter @gerrydulac. First Published July 25, 2014 12:00 AM