Veteran Ike Taylor: Pay cut hurt

PITTSBURGH -- The pay cut that Ike Taylor agreed to so he could stay in Pittsburgh apparently hit the Steelers cornerback in more than just the wallet.

"Did it hurt me? Hell, yeah," Taylor said Monday on "The Jim Rome Show."

"Does it still hurt? Yeah, it hurts, but hopefully I can go in and bounce back this year, do what I need to on the field, and we will see what happens after."

Taylor, who is entering the final year of his contract, spoke out for the first time about the pay cut that cost him $4.25 million to remain with the organization that drafted him in 2003. During organized team activities and minicamp, he had not expressed any dissatisfaction with having his base salary reduced from $7 million to $2.75 million. That changed, however, when he went on Rome's nationally syndicated show.

"I'm (ticked) off about it, still am (ticked) off about it, and I'm going to be (ticked) off until the end of the season about it," said Taylor, who along with safety Troy Polamalu is the longest-tenured player on the Steelers. "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?' "

Taylor started all 16 games last season and recorded 63 tackles and broke up 12 passes. But his play slipped in 2013, and teams had enough success throwing at Taylor that by late in the season the Steelers had stopped moving the 6-foot-2, 195-pounder around so he could cover the opponents' No. 1 wide receiver.

The Steelers reduced Taylor's salary while they were working to clear room under the salary cap. He attended only a handful of the OTA practices, but that didn't raise any eyebrows since they were voluntary.

He went public with his frustration over his contract situation less than a month before the Steelers report to training camp.

Taylor said he ultimately agreed to a cut because he didn't want to continue his career elsewhere.

"By the end of the day I didn't want to leave Pittsburgh," Taylor said. "Point-blank, period."