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Former Pittsburgh Steeler surprised with retirement party in Raleigh

Posted November 25, 2015
Updated November 26, 2015

— Before Ike Taylor was a Pittsburgh Steeler, he was a Cougar at Jaycee Park in Raleigh.

Taylor spent 12 years in the National Football League and earned two Super Bowl rings with the Steelers before announcing his retirement from the game in April.

On Wednesday night, Taylor was surprised by friends and family at the Jaycee Park Gym with a retirement party, where it all began for the former cornerback.

“It was a surprise,” Taylor said. “It was truly an honor.”

Taylor said it felt like home to step back into the gym at Jaycee Park.

“It gave me something to do, so this was like my foundation,” he said.

Shawnonne Pickett, Taylor’s sister, said football was a way for her brother to stay out of trouble.

“At about the age of eight, he told my mom that he was going to make it to the NFL,” Pickett said.

Another surprise for Taylor was seeing his first football coach, George Lewis.

“So many stories guys and I have with him,” Lewis said. “It is unbelievable.”

Lewis said he remembered Taylor’s determination as a young football player.

“If there was someone that would go that far on that team, it was Ivan [Taylor],” he said.

Taylor said he gives much of his successes to his mother, Cora Taylor.

“She sacrificed a lot, so she kind of set the standard on that,” he said.

Cora Taylor raised four children as a single mother in a home across the street from the park.

“He lived out his dream, and tonight we are so proud of him,” Cora Taylor said.


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  • Donald Wilkins Nov 28, 2015
    user avatar

    Did he got to high school in Raleigh?

  • Amomoftwo Nov 26, 2015

    What a beautiful story! We read so many bad stories about NFL players..it's great to read such a positive one! And George Lewis has been a positive influence on MANY young people in Raleigh....a fine man and a great neighbor!