Harris: Taylor's Work Ethic Inspires

Article excerpt

There are team leaders, and then there's Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor.

Unofficially, Taylor is the new go-to guy on defense, a high- energy shutdown corner whose animated passion on the field is second to none.

With Deshea Townsend, who turns 34 in September, playing nickel and dime back, Taylor has become the team's veteran starting corner.

Last month, Taylor restructured his contract to help the Steelers re-sign outside linebacker James Harrison to a $51.175 million deal, a franchise record for a defensive player.

Taylor is also tutoring William Gay, who is expected to start opposite Taylor at left corner. Taylor asked Gay to join him in Orlando, Fla., to train with speed and conditioning coach Tom Shaw, and Gay accepted.

At the conclusion of Sunday's mandatory three-day minicamp, Taylor and Gay made plans to return to Florida to train until voluntary workouts resume May 19-21. The two had been working out in Florida since the end of the first voluntary team practices prior to last week's NFL Draft.

With Shaw's help, Taylor ran a 4.18 40 at his college's pro day. Taylor's speed led the Steelers to draft him in the fourth round despite playing only one year at cornerback.

Gay, timed at 4.5 in college, is looking for an edge to run with the league's fastest receivers.

"He said anytime you want to work out, come down," said Gay, a fifth-round pick. "Going down there with Ike, a proven vet, being down there in the heat, that's what I like. We call that fourth- quarter heat. If you can battle through that, you can battle through anything."

The similarities between Taylor and Gay are striking. …