Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor is walking away from the NFL after 12 seasons with the franchise.
Taylor’s retirement became official Tuesday, five days after safety Troy Polamalu announced his playing career was coming to an end. Both defensive backs spent their entire professional career with the Steelers.
“Other than having my son, playing for the Steelers has been the best experience in my entire lifetime,” Taylor said Tuesday.
Taylor customarily checked the opponents’ top wide receiver aligned at left cornerback in the hyper-aggressive 3-4 defense of the Steelers. He began to show signs of diminishing skills in 2013, and then-coordinator Dick LeBeau moved Taylor off of the “shutdown” role in Pittsburgh’s defense.
Cortez Allen is the current left cornerback for the Steelers, but with little behind him, the position qualifies as a need entering the draft. William Gay, who struggled last season, and B.W. Webb are the top contenders to start on the right side.
Taylor, who turns 35 in May, returned to the team in 2014 after taking a pay cut to remain on the roster. He was a fourth-round pick from Louisiana-Lafayette in 2003 and became a full-time starter in 2005.
Free agent outside linebacker Jason Worilds, who led the team in sacks last season, and defensive end Brett Keisel also retired and LeBeau resigned.