Ike Taylor was on The Jim Rome Show today and spent a good amount of time sharing his feelings about his salary. At least, he shared his feelings about his recent decrease in salary when asked about it.
Ike was characteristically candid in his interview today, though, he was uncharacteristically critical. It was the first time he’s publicly complained about the new deal he took with the Steelers this spring. Taylor was slated to earn a $7 Mil base salary before renegotiating with the team at the beginning of March. The reworking of his contract saved the team $4.25 Mil, and took his 2014 cap number down from $11,942,404 down to $7,692,404.
A few months ago Taylor seemed satisfied with the deal, well, as satisfied as someone could be after agreeing to let go of over 4 million dollars. He wanted to retire a Steeler, and he knew his age and the tight salary cap made his release a possibility. Today, the veteran cornerback had lots to say about just how unsatisfied he was about it. “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,” said Taylor. “Did it hurt me? Hell yeah. Does it still hurt? 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.”
When asked if the pay cut made him want to work less or work harder, his answer wasn’t as direct. “It’s like you get to a point- ‘why me?’ Like I didn’t show my loyalty? You want to talk about a guy who’s going to come in in shape, not waiting to build up into shape when he gets to camp. Or you want to talk about a guy who’s unselfish and puts his team before his family and friends, you want to talk about a guy who has loyalty, yeah, it’s me. When you come to me and ask me for a pay cut, I’m like ‘Damn, out of all these people, you want to ask Ike?’ ”
Ultimately, according to Taylor, he just didn’t want to leave Pittsburgh. Pride was the biggest factor in the “tough decision”, and he saw what happened to other players who had let pride get in the way.
“By the end of the day, it is a pride factor. As a professional athlete and as a man in general, you have to learn to balance your pride. You have to learn when to use it and when not use it. At the time, I didn’t think it was the time to use it. I can use it on the field. I can use it with my offseason activities. I can use it for workouts and let that carry over.”
“I had seen a few guys who didn’t take pay cuts and went to other teams and it didn’t work out for them. So, at the end of the day, I didn’t want to leave Pittsburgh, point blank, period,” Taylor explained. You can listen to the majority of the interview below.