Longtime Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor may have retired from the game following the 2014 season, but that hasn’t prevented him from staying active and involved in the game that he loves by any means. In particular, he has been getting plenty of face time lately on NFL Network, where he now works as an analyst.
While he is a New Orleans native, Pittsburgh is and will always be his second home, and will always have a connection back to the Steelers. On that note, he recently shared some tips for his former team’s incoming rookie class based on what he learned during his 11 NFL seasons donning the black and gold. You can view his segment at the link right here.
The list is a mixture of humor and seriousness, as you might expect from Taylor, professor at Swaggin’ University, but it is all helpful, and all ties to the variety of elements it takes to transition to life as a professional football player.
He starts out by telling the rookie class to stay on Carson St., a “safe, sound” street that’s “gonna take you right to the facility”. Perhaps not the most immediate thing that you might think of, but it’s important for these young adults to know where they should be in a city such as Pittsburgh, where it’s not entirely difficult to find trouble for yourself if you go looking for it. Ask Mike Adams or Alameda Ta’amu.
His second bit of advice was to get over to Primanti Brothers, a city staple that seemingly every rookie gets introduced to at some point. It’s an acquired taste, as players from all over the nation eventually learn. Taylor said their sandwiches have “just a lot of stuff you probably don’t think is gonna taste good…but it’s not too bad”.
Tip number three is simple and to the point: Come Prepared to Work Hard. As he says, “make sure you have a pen and a notebook”. He also talked about how the coaches like to see that, and that you need to come in early and leave late. Don’t worry about the veterans. Do your business and you might last long enough to be a veteran yourself.
The next tip is basically to annoy the veteran guys. Follow around the hardest-working men in the facility. “Hang around Antonio Brown. Just listen, don’t say a word”. Hang around Le’Veon Bell and William Gay. Players who know how to be professional on and off the field. “They challenge each other; they stay in shape”.
Finally, Taylor urges that the young rookies make sure that they go up and say hi to the Chairman himself, “Mister” Dan Rooney, with whom the former Steelers retains a special relationship. Incoming players may not understand just how important Dan Rooney has been to both the success and the foundation of the organization over the years. Leave it to Ike to set them straight.
A bit of humor, a lot of seriousness underneath it, all the while having fun. That was Taylor in a nutshell. He came up from a small school as a raw prospect and carved out a long career for himself with a couple of rings to show for it, so it would be wise for Artie Burns and the rest of the rookies to heed what he has to say.
Again, in case you missed above, you can view the segment at this link: 5 tips for Steelers rookies.