Longtime Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor has decided to end his NFL playing career, and will retire, according to Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (Twitter link). The Steelers confirmed Taylor’s decision today.
Taylor, who will turn 35 next month, spent his entire playing career in Pittsburgh, having been drafted by the team in the fourth round back in 2003. Over the course of his 12 seasons as a Steeler, Taylor never earned a Pro Bowl nod, but was a steady and mostly reliable presence in the club’s secondary, playing 174 regular season contests (140 starts) and another 14 postseason games.
Taylor’s career regular season tallies include 636 total tackles, 14 interceptions, five fumble recoveries, and 133 passes defended. His most notable run may have come following his first year as a full-time starter in 2005, when he nabbed a pair of interceptions in the playoffs en route to the Steelers’ Super Bowl win.
A few weeks ago, we heard that while Taylor hadn’t confirmed his decision to retire, he wasn’t actively seeking out contract offers from NFL teams, and was instead exploring potential television opportunities. As such, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the veteran cornerback pop up on an NFL broadcast next season.
As I noted over the weekend when I examined the noteworthy remaining defensive free agents, Taylor was one of just a handful of notable cornerbacks still on the board. Teams eyeing the free agent market for a corner will now have to turn to veterans like Tarell Brown and Carlos Rogers.
Taylor is the Steelers’ second longtime defensive back to retire within the last week, joining Troy Polamalu.