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Ike Taylor retires after 12 seasons with Steelers

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Ike Taylor officially announced his retirement from the NFL on Tuesday, putting an end to a productive 12-year career -- all in Pittsburgh Steelers black and gold.

The 34-year-old cornerback was with the team for two Super Bowl wins and three conference championships.

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"Other than having my son, playing for the Steelers has been the best experience in my entire lifetime," Taylor said in a statement released by the Steelers. "It is rare, in this day of free agency that is super rare to play for one team. For me to have this opportunity says a lot about how they felt about me, what I gave back to the organization. I wasn't cut, I wasn't released. It was just my contract was up and it was time to retire. If you want to have pride, well that is the kind of pride I have, being able to play my contract out."

Taylor follows fellow longtime teammate Troy Polamalu off the field in what has been an offseason of change for Mike Tomlin and the typically-quiet Steelers organization.

Taylor, who initially said that he was planning on playing for three more years and was open to playing safety, did not want to entertain wearing another uniform in the end.

In his retirement announcement, Taylor told a story about how franchise chairman Dan Rooney Sr. told his own son, Art Rooney, to vacate his office so Taylor could go in there and get some rest.

It helped illustrate the bond he ended up forging with the team that chose him in the fourth round back in 2003.

"Who does that? Nobody does that," Taylor said. "Not a Hall of Fame owner. But he did. That is where I get some of my personality from, because a guy like that, in the Hall of Fame, is so humble."

Taylor said that the timing of his exit was no coincidence. Watching Polamalu leave was symbolic in a way. The pair entered the league together and will exit that way.

"That is how we rock," he said. "We came in, we are leaving together. That is my loyalty to that man. I said once Troy does his, I will decide. That is what I owe to Troy."

The Steelers sound open to having Taylor come back as a coaching assistant during OTAs in the coming months. It wouldn't be a surprise to see him matriculate onto the staff, or on Dick LeBeau's staff in Tennessee in the coming years.

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