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5 Snapshots of Tyrod Taylor the Person, the Player, the Jets' New Backup QB

Some Stories About Pronouncing His First Name, His Upbringing in 'the 757' & His Hidden Tattoos

New York Giants quarterback Tyrod Taylor (2) looks to pass against the Philadelphia Eagles during the third quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 7, 2024, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

Tyrod Taylor has embarked on the next chapter of his successful pro career, coming aboard the Jets to back up Aaron Rodgers at quarterback. On the surface it wouldn't seem like Taylor will see much playing time in 2024, but no backup figured to see the field much around this time last year when the Rodgers trade was finalized, and we saw how painfully that worked out in ARod Year 1.

But as Taylor has always said about being a sixth-round draft pick and not playing much quarterback in his first four seasons in the NFL: "I know what adversity is, but I've also learned how to be successful. All you ask for is an opportunity and now it's up to me what I do with it."

Here are five short, short stories providing insight into Taylor, the player, the person and the Jets' newest QB.

Name Game
You might not have known there was more than one way to pronounce Taylor's first name. It's no biggie to him but it was confusing even to, which in 2018 tried to explain the right pronunciation in print and mispronounced it several times.

Taylor provided a pronunciation primer during 2018 training camp, his only summer as a Browns QB.

" 'TIE-rod' is definitely what I've heard most of my life," he said, "but my mom calls me 'tuh-ROD'. But she also doesn't call me by my first name."

That's tuh-ROD, accent on the second syllable, not TUH-rod.

The natural followup question: What does your mom call you then?

" She calls me by my middle name, Di'allo," he replied, adding with a smile, "She's only allowed to call me that. Y'all can't start to call me that."

First Start, First Catch
Those familiar with the Taylor story arc know that while he played four years as Virginia Tech's quarterback, was drafted as a QB by Baltimore (when Jets GM Joe Douglas was a Ravens scout) and has played QB his entire 13-year career. Yet his first pro start, in his first game as Buffalo's starting QB in 2015 (under former Jets HC Rex Ryan), was at wide receiver. He lined up wide on the Bills' first offensive play in their season opener vs. Indianapolis, then took the reins from Matt Cassel for the rest of the game.

Taylor also has two receptions on his personal stat sheet, and his first came when he lined up as a Baltimore wideout, later in the 2013 season, for 6 yards. The opponents were the visiting Jets. And the quarterback who threw the completion was a Jets-QB-to-be, Joe Flacco.

Someone to Talk To
Taylor comes out of Hampton (VA) HS, which has produced its share of notable alums, among them Pro Football Hall of Famers Dwight Stephenson, the Miami center, and Chris Hanburger, the Washington LB, along with 1976 Olympian Steve Riddick, who anchored the gold-medal, world-record-setting 1976 U.S. 4 x 100 relay team (a quartet that included a future Jet in WR Lam Jones). Allen Iverson also went to Hampton and other QBs in "the 757" included Aaron Brooks and EJ Manuel.

But one of Taylor's closest confidants was a fellow QB for Virginia Tech from the same part of Virginia. Michael Vick played at two high schools in nearby Newport News and in 2010 he was living in Hampton.

"I talk with Mike just about every week," Taylor said then. "He tells me to go out there and keep the team together and keep winning," adding that once Vick was released from prison on dog-fighting charges and returned to the field , "it drew us back together so we are closer now than before. We talk a lot."

The Good Book
Taylor has done many good works in his young life. He started the Tyrod Taylor Foundation (Web address:, with the "2" doing double-duty as a backwards "S"). Via his foundation, he made a $25,000 contribution to the Virginia Peninsula Foodbank during the COVID pandemic. An only child, he credits his father, Rodney, mother, Trina and grandparents for raising him in the Christian faith and helping him "stay humble and work hard."

Taylor's favorite Bible verse, which he imparted on the Fellowship of Christian Athletes website ties in with his on-field exploits: "Philippians 4:13 was the first verse my mom taught me when I was little, and, as an athlete and in everyday life that verse means so much to me. Some people may have doubt, but I don't listen to that. I focus on God and the goal. Sometimes things seem like they can't be fixed, but if you look to Him and put your faith in Him, there is always a better play ahead."

Tat's All, Folks
Tyrod Taylor's tattoos are understated and they're also heavy on the words, light on the pictures. He's got messages like "Always Say a Prayer" and "Truly Blessed" inked on his torso.

And on the insides of his biceps, he's got a truncated message just that's maybe just a little bit like his middle name. On his right, throwing, arm are the words "Born to Lose." On the left: "Built to Win." As he told in 2015, he covers those tats with compression shirt sleeves that go down to his elbows, but he goes back to the words when he might need a lift or some inspiration. "It means something to me," he said. "It's for me."

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