by Kerry Taylor
My first NFL off-season was an interesting one so far. Talk about peaks and valleys, highs and lows. My focus was turned to getting myself ready for NFL Europe. As I mentioned in Part 8 of my NFL Journey, a few other players and myself were slated to go to NFL Europe. More specifically the Barcelona Dragons. YES!! YES!! The sun, beach, football, Europe, what could be better?!? But then everything came to a screeching halt! Not so fast!!!
I was reaching towards the end of my workout that day, and a passing by voice abruptly said mixed in with the music, ”Kerry, please see me after you finish your workout.” I stopped what I was doing to chase the voice and put a face with it. It was New England Offensive Coordinator, Charlie Weiss. “Sure coach.” Immediately my mind started to race, up to this point there was no reason for me to go up to his office that I knew of unless it was to give me my walking papers. I apprehensively completed my workout and headed up to coach's office. Just before I walked in, the thought of the grim reaper reentered my mind. I thought to myself, "they didn’t send him for me so maybe I’m okay." I stood outside the door, straightened up my posture, head held high and started my walk in which felt like an eternity before I reached the seat. “Hey Coach”, I said as confidently as I could. “Kerry, we’ve been doing some thinking. And we think you have a strong chance to make the team and contribute next year. So, I think I want to keep you here to learn the offensive system. What do you think?” “Sure coach! Sounds good to me, If you think that’s what’s best for me to make the team. Let’s go for it.” Phew!! My heart was beating a mile a minute.
And just like that NFL Europe was no longer in my future. I was staying home in the New England sun. (New England and sun have probably never been used in a sentence together like that) As I write this, I’m having one of those “If I could do it over again” moments. If I could go back to that conversation I probably would’ve at least made my case to get to NFL Europe. The slight oversight on my part was the fact that I would’ve been able to measure myself up against other potential NFL talent and also get myself on film for the other 31 teams. In the NFL, what you put on tape is everything, it’s your resume. Sigh…Okay moment over.
Since, I was no longer going to NFL Europe, I had to focus on how I was best going to take advantage of the new opportunity put in front of me. I attended every mini-camp and workout we had that off season. I figured this would help make sure I would be ready physically and mentally for what I was about to embark on, and when training camp arrived, I would be in my best shape possible. Everything was going according to plan until our last mini-camp before training camp. You know when they say “Only worry about what you can control?” Well, I started to get worried about things I couldn’t control which lead to me trying to be too perfect. Yes, you can try to be too perfect, because being perfect doesn’t exist. I was just trying too hard and I couldn’t relax. Doing this started to change my style of play, and it wasn’t for the better.
Want to know how and why, tune in next time when I dive a little deeper into what happened at that final mini-camp before training camp started. Until next time.