If ever there was a time that the Pittsburgh Steelers could have used vintage Ike Taylor back on the field, it would have been Sunday against the Patriots. He is the last player they have had who had the capability of consistently playing in man coverage and controlling an opponent throughout a game.
Now Taylor is selling his wares on the air waves on NFL Network, but he saved a bit of vintage Ike in passing out some words of wisdom to his friend, Antonio Brown, with whom he had many a battle during practices, especially up in Latrobe during training camp, as the veteran tried to cover the budding young star one-on-one.
“Without Seven [quarterback Ben Roethlisberger], there is no AB”, Taylor said yesterday. “You could say what you want to say. Take Seven out of the equation, it might be a little bit different”. He would not be the first player to leave the Steelers only to find that the grass is not always greener.
This took place during a segment discussing Brown’s future with the team, following the Facebook Live incident and Mike Tomlin’s subsequent comments about talented players seeing themselves finish their careers bouncing from team to team because of maturity or selfishness issues.
“But this is how I look at the Pittsburgh Steelers at the wide receiver position” he continued. “If there is one position where I feel like they draft well, it’s the wide receiver position. Let’s got back. Plaxico Burress. After Plax, Hines Ward. After Hines Ward, Antwaan Randle El”.
It doesn’t end there, of course. “Those first three are gone [though Ward was not], so you get a Santonio Holmes. Santonio Holmes, Super Bowl MVP. ‘We didn’t like what you were doing off the field, we didn’t like your attitude. We’re going to ship you’”.
“There is no greater moment than being a Super Bowl MVP. And then the following year you are not with that team? So you get a Mike Wallace, an Emmanuel Sanders. Then you have Antonio Brown. ‘Mike, man, we love you but you can go. Emmanuel, we love you but you can go’”.
Then we get closer to the present day, with the man out of the picture this year. “And we forget there’s Martavis Bryant sitting on the shelf”.
“So, people, at the wide receiver position, they do well at drafting and scouting at that wide receiver position. So I love AB, to death, but you’ve got to understand that you’re playing for a good organization”.
That certainly sounds a bit like a warning to me. Taylor prided himself in the latter years of his career in serving as a mentor for the younger players on the roster, offering them life advice and guidance beyond just the football field. Brown would probably do well to listen to Ike Taylor and get some education at Swaggin’ U.