Ike Taylor ranks in perhaps the top five cornerbacks in Pittsburgh Steelers history — at least he does on my list. There aren’t too many that you could put ahead of them who aren’t in the Hall of Fame, as Mel Blount, Jack Butler, and Rod Woodson are.
He won’t ever get in the Hall of Fame, but he’s always had a Hall of Fame mouth. And he continues to use it to talk about one of his biggest passions: The Steelers. He recently talked to Brian Batko of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, mentioning, even, that he has a Steelers podcast.
“Once you’re a Steeler, you’re always a Steeler”, Taylor said. “And I felt like I was a Rooney, so I’m a Rooney, as well. And that’s what I’m going to do, I’m going to be a Pittsburgh Steeler-head, and after being a Pittsburgh Steeler-head, I’m a football-head. I just like the game of football.”
The Steelers drafted Taylor in the fourth round of the 2003 NFL Draft out of Louisiana-Lafayette. That name that might be more familiar to you over the past year because that’s also where 2020 fourth-round draft choice Kevin Dotson went to school.
While Dotson was a born and bred Steelers fan, Taylor’s love had to be learned and earned. That is what happened over the course of his decade-long career. “Once you bleed black and gold, you’re black and gold forever”, he said, a common theme for a lot of the team’s most prominent alumni.
Taylor would go on to start 140 of 174 career games at corner played for the Steelers, the the only organization he ever played for. He registered 636 tackles, with 14 interceptions and 134 passes defensed. He added another 58 tackles and three interceptions over the course of 11 postseason starts in 14 games.
Of course, Taylor also started at corner on three Super Bowl teams, winning two of them — 2005 and 2008. They regularly used him as a lockdown corner, the guy that you let roam all around the field to cover your opponent’s biggest weapon.
The Steelers weren’t able to do much of that between Taylor and Woodson. And they wouldn’t do that after Taylor again until Joe Haden came along. Outside of, like, one game where Ross Cockrell shadowed A.J. Green because all of the other cornerbacks were half his height at the time.
Needless to say, the love was mutual between Taylor and the Steelers. I think most readers by now would be familiar with his very tight relationship with former president Dan Rooney. He always brought ‘swag’ to his game —but his lunch pail, as well.