It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that Tyrod Taylor views his 10-year NFL career with some ambivalence.
The positive has been that he has achieved longevity as an NFL quarterback. The challenging and unsaid part is that Taylor has done so as an African American quarterback which has meant fewer opportunities and a short leash when he has gotten a shot.
Taylor, of course, signed with the Texans this offseason perhaps at first to backup Deshaun Watson, but he is now expected to enter the season as the starter with Watson’s promising career and status with the team in limbo.
“To explain it, it’s been a blessing,” Taylor said when asked to describe his career as a quarterback. “Like I said, I think that I’ve used everything that has happened to me throughout my college career, professional career, and I think that those experiences have prepared me for the opportunity that I have now, which allows me to go out each and every day at peace mentally, but to compete and have a smile on my face.
“You learn from those experiences, you move forward, you stay in a positive attitude. I think that’s what’s kept me with the right mindset to be able to persevere through the things that have happened to me throughout my career. It hasn’t been all great, it hasn’t been bad. I don’t know how you would describe it.”
The best description would likely be overachiever considering that Taylor entered the NFL as a sixth-round draft pick out of Virginia Tech in 2011. Today he is just one of four remaining quarterbacks from that class still on a roster, joining Cam Newton, Andy Dalton and Blaine Gabbert.
Along the way, Taylor has played for five different teams and has been a starter for 47 of his career 72 games. His best years were with Buffalo where he was a full-time starter for a few seasons and earned a Pro Bowl bid.
An exciting quarterback, who can extend plays with his legs, Taylor has completed 61 percent of his passes for 9,770 yards and 54 touchdowns versus 18 interceptions. Only 1.4% of his passes have been intercepted which puts him in the company of much more celebrated quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes.
“I know that when it comes to the NFL, I’ve been a winner in this league,” said Taylor, who was recently made available to the media for the first time since he signed as a free agent with the Texans in March. “Yes, I’ve had trials and tribulations, but it’s part of the game. Like I said, I’m now just thankful for the opportunity to be able to lead the guys that we have in the locker room.”
Recognizing the value of Taylor, the Texans signed the veteran to a one-year deal worth $12.5 million. He comes in having worked with head coach David Culley in Baltimore and passing game coordinator Pep Hamilton at his most recent stop with the Los Angeles Chargers.
While the Texans’ situation seems eerily similar, the 31-year-old Taylor is certainly hoping things will turn out much different with the Texans than with his most recent two stops. In both Cleveland and Los Angeles, he earned the starting job only to suffer an injury and never get another opportunity after the drafted quarterback waiting in the wings took over.
The Texans drafted Davis Mills in the third round this offseason with the hope that he won’t have to play right away. There is no doubt Mills is the future of the franchise, but for now it’s Taylor’s job.
Last October, Taylor lost his starting job with the Chargers when the team doctor accidentally punctured his lung while administering a painkiller injection before a game. Rookie first-round draft pick Justin Herbert then took over and the job remained his.
“Definitely, last year didn’t go the way that I would want it to, but those are out of my control,” Taylor said. “It’s an opportunity for me to be able to rebound and still play at a high level, which I know I can do.”