The Pittsburgh Steelers are always one of the most attractive destinations for NFL players for a multitude of reasons. Beyond the rich tradition, head coach Mike Tomlin is one of the most respected guys around the league. In the 2000’s, Fred Taylor established himself as one of the better running backs of his generation. He spent his first 11 seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars before spending the last two with the New England Patriots. In his career, Taylor had seven 1,000-yard seasons, all with the Jaguars.
Former Steelers safety Ryan Clark and former NFL linebacker Channing Crowder, along with Taylor, have recently began a podcast titled The Pivot Podcast. The three sat down with Tomlin in a recent interview and discussed a slew of topics. Among them, Fred Taylor discussed the moment he wanted to become a Steeler in his 13-year NFL career.
“I’ve been waiting 14 years for this. 2009, the Jacksonville Jaguars released me, and there was only two teams I wanted to hear from: one was the Patriots and the other one was the Pittsburgh Steelers. Why didn’t you hit me up, boss?”
At the time, Taylor was 33 years old on the back-end of his career. The Jaguars released him so Maurice Jones-Drew could take over full-time at running back. He ended up signing with the Patriots and played just two seasons there before retiring. The Patriots and Steelers are two of the most prestigious franchises over the last two decades, led by two of the best coaches. Of course Taylor wound up going to New England, led by Bill Belichick, but it’s clear what his motives were at that moment of his career.
In those final two seasons that could’ve been spent in black and gold, Taylor played in just 13 games. In those contests, he had 106 carries for 424 yards and four TDs. In the meantime, the Steelers had a bit of a full running back room. Rashard Mendenhall took care of a majority of the carries as the team’s primary running back. Beyond him, they already had a veteran ball-carrier in Willie Parker who served as a backup. They even used a third running back in fellow veteran Mewelde Moore, who brought a different dynamic to the game with his pass-catching abilities.
Steelers’ Tomlin’s impact continues
The depth in the RB room explains why there likely wasn’t much mutual interest at the time between the Steelers and Taylor. The team already had two guys on the older side of their careers, so bringing in Taylor would’ve been duplicating what they already had. With that being said, Taylor’s comments come as a form of respect toward Tomlin.
Would you guys have welcomed Taylor to Pittsburgh in ’09? Imagine a prime Fred Taylor with those Steelers teams in the 2000’s. Let us know your thoughts on this and anything else from this awesome podcast in the comment section below!
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