Where Are They Now

Where Are They Now: Troy Taylor

Catch Up with the Former Jet from Cal

2022-cuts-4

The Jets seemed to have had a QB pipeline to Sacramento in 1990.

Veterans Ken O'Brien, Tony Eason, and Troy Taylor, who was drafted in the fourth round out of Cal that year, each graduated from a high school in California's capital city.

"All of us were from the same area, and so those guys really took care of me. They were guys that had been around and both are really good people. So I was very lucky," Taylor said. "Kenny and I would train running and lifting and explosiveness with a guy named Al Biancani, who is kind of a Sacramento legend. I obviously followed Kenny's career and then met him through Al a couple of times. So we had crossed paths."

Taylor began following the path to a career in football before he knew how to spell career.

"My dream my whole life was to play football and coach football. That was it from about the age of 7," Taylor said. "I was always drawing up plays. I would sit in bookstores and read football books in the aisles. Anybody that's been around me, when they think of me, they think of yellow legal pads."

After being drafted by the Jets, Taylor's attention shifted from yellow to Green & White.

"For a kid like me, it was kind of surreal to actually become a reality when I was drafted by the Jets," Taylor said. "It's one of those things you dream about your whole life. And then when it happens to you, you worked really hard, but you also feel very fortunate.

"When you think of New York, you think in New York City, obviously. I was mostly a suburban kid, and then you get out there and it's more Long Island. But at that point, I was excited, nervous, all of those things. And there were really good people there, so they made the transition pretty easy."

Taking the field for two late-season games, the rookie put points on the scoreboard both times. On December 16, he notched his touchdown pass at Giants Stadium against the Indianapolis Colts.

"I threw a fade route for a (10-yard) touchdown to Rob Moore on the right sideline. That was a great feeling," Taylor said. "Back then, they would sometimes play Paul McCartney's 'Jet' after touchdowns, and the whole crowd was yelling, Jet! at the jet part.

"I remember that moment thinking, 'Wow, this is incredible to be able to play in the NFL, throw a touchdown pass, and have them yell, Jet!' It was pretty cool. It is a great, great memory. I'm a huge Beatles fan, and anytime I hear that song, I think of that moment."

The following game against New England, Taylor contributed to New York's 42-7 blowout win with a 5-yard TD run. "I got outside and found a little space and was able to get it in," he said. "That was pretty cool. Those are good memories."

Taylor's time with the Jets may not have been as long as he would have liked, but it was an experience he'll always remember. In a backup role for two seasons, he passed for 125 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. And he carried the ball for 43 yards and a touchdown.

"You know, I certainly wanted to throw a lot more touchdown passes and a few more touchdown runs, and that didn't happen the way it worked out. But I feel very blessed. Especially the older I get, to have that opportunity and those memories," Taylor said.

"(My fondest memory is) probably the first touchdown pass. But just like everybody says, it's the other things that make it pretty special. It's the relationships with your coaches and your teammates.

"Running for a touchdown or throwing a touchdown, that was really cool. And being a part of a team that went to the playoffs. All those things and being able to contribute on whatever level that is, those are great memories."

Taylor embarked on making a fresh batch of memories following his playing days when he took the next step in his childhood game plan and became a coach.

His resumé is made up of stints at Casa Roble High School; the University of Colorado; his alma mater, Cal; Christian Brothers High School; Folsom High School; Eastern Washington University; the University of Utah; and finally at Sacramento State, where he's in his fourth season as the head coach.

"I was really lucky," Taylor said. "From about age 7, I knew I was going to coach after I got through playing. I mean, I never had any worry like, 'What am I going to do when I grow up?'

"My dad was a carpenter. He pounded nails into boards in 100-degree temperature all summer and I'm drawing up plays and competing in football. So I'm a blessed guy."

Through his experiences patrolling the sideline, is there something Taylor has discovered about the job of being a coach that he didn't realize as a player?

"One thing that you bring with you as a player to a coach is how important confidence is, and how quickly you can lose it," he said. "One of the things that was really intriguing to me when I was with the Jets is you realize that these guys have the same issues as all other players do at other levels. They're not always supremely confident. You can kind of lose your confidence quickly, and so much of it is about believing in yourself and your abilities.

"So I just always remember that even the great players, confidence is such an important part. It's important that you have routines and you put them in situations where they can be successful, so they have that kind of built-in confidence and belief in what they're doing. That has been the big thing for me.

"And also in the NFL, it's great to see that some of the toughest, meanest competitors are some of the nicest guys in the world once they're off the field. Sharing with guys that you can be a great person and a nice person off the field and still be really aggressive and a great competitor on the field, those are a couple things I took with me."

Back where it all started and living about a mile from Sacramento State's campus, Taylor and his wife, Tracey, have three children: Noah, Aaron, and Ella.

"I've got a great family. A great wife. Great kids. And I get paid to coach football. It's a miracle," Taylor said. "I did it for free at Folsom High School, and I'm doing pretty much the same job as I did there. And now they're just paying me a little bit more money. So I get paid to do a job that I would do for free."

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