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Kerry Taylor's Arizona Dream

Posted Aug 19, 2013

Wide receiver fighting to make the hometown team's 53-man roster

Wide receiver Kerry Taylor makes plays against the Cowboys Saturday.

What’s it like when the dream is within reach yet nowhere close to a sure thing?

When the accolades and interviews come after a good game, yet you know you play for an organization that is constantly looking to churn the roster?

Well, said Kerry Taylor, “that’s part of the ride.”

“If it was easy,” the Cardinals’ wide receiver said, “it wouldn’t mean as much. Hopefully, if I make it, I can look back on this 20 or 30 years from now and think, ‘Wow, I fought the uphill battle all the way.’ ”

The Cardinals are looking for a fourth and fifth receiver still. It’s no sure thing that those guys are even on the roster yet, with General Manager Steve Keim constantly scouring the free-agent and waiver lists to find players

But Taylor has worked his way into the discussion in part because of the four receptions (for 85 yards) he had against the Cowboys Saturday. Sure, coach Bruce Arians was hard on Taylor in part of his assessment, saying Taylor should have hung on to a potential touchdown pass from Drew Stanton on a laser that certainly looked too high to catch.

Arians did say Taylor had a good game, though, which followed a good week of practice.

“It’s a game he should flourish in because he’s a smart guy and they are a zone-oriented football team,” Arians said. “He knows how to get open.”

Taylor should know how to get open, thanks to his family bloodlines. Father Keith was a nine-year defensive back in the NFL. Uncle John was a star wide receiver across from Jerry Rice for many years with the powerful 49ers.

From a young age, Kerry Taylor was getting jammed at the line of scrimmage by his dad, showing him the best way to get off press coverage. Father and son stayed up late many nights talking about football, about coverages and route-running.

“My Dad never pushed me to football or the NFL,” Taylor said. “This is what I wanted to do. Football is always what I was best at.

“Maybe it does have something to do with the bloodlines.”

Taylor had brief stints with the Packers, Patriots (twice), 49ers and Vikings. It’s not like he came straight to the Cardinals, but it’s where he wanted to be. Growing up in Arizona, he attended Hamilton High School in nearby Chandler and Arizona State for college.

He hooked on with the Cardinals in late September last season, replacing former ASU teammate and suspended-at-the-time practice squad receiver Gerell Robinson. Taylor stuck around on the practice squad all season and even earned a promotion to the 53-man roster for the finale.

He was brought back but was generally under the radar as other unknown rookies seemed to catch Arians’ eye: Jaron Brown, Charles Hawkins, Robert Gill. It was Taylor, however, who was listed as the fourth receiver when the depth chart was first revealed prior to the Green Bay game two weeks ago.

What that means in another two weeks or so, when the Cardinals finally pare their roster down to 53, remains a mystery. Taylor says the right things about continuing to work hard and seeing how things play out, although he smiles and wonders if he can “start a new trend” by having success on every level in Arizona, from a high school to a college to the pro team here.

It’s hard not to dream that dream, no matter what the circumstances.

“I’ve always thought about it,” Taylor said. “I’ve always wanted to play for the Cardinals.”


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