My NFL Journey Part 6

by Kerry Taylor

Me: “I’ve had better days, but I’m doing good.”
Person: “What time is your flight home?”
Me: “3:30 this afternoon, I should land around 7 tonight at Logan.”
Person: “Okay, great. Use this flight to put everything behind you, I will need you with a clear head tomorrow.”
Me: “Okay. No problem.  By the way, who is this?”
Person: “Oh, that would probably help you out, wouldn’t it?  This is Carl Smith, Tight Ends coach for the New England Patriots.”
Me: “Hey coach!”
Coach Smith: “We would like you to come down to the stadium tomorrow and sign a contract.  Would you like to be a New England Patriot?”
Me: “Of course I would Coach, I’ll come down as soon as I get off the plane if you would like!”
Coach Smith: “Ha Ha Ha…..Tomorrow’s fine, see you then.”
Me: "Okay, great Coach! I'm looking forward to it!"

And just like that, my hope was instantly renewed.  My excitement that this dream was not over couldn’t be contained.   A constant pacing around the room and self conversations ensued as I hung up the phone. “Yes, I’m gonna make this happen!!”  “Learn from your past mistakes Kerry.”  “We have to work even harder to make this happen.”  These were some of the words I would start speaking out loud to myself.  Then, I stopped in my tracks, jumped on the bed and did the happy dance, “I’m going to be a New England Patriot! Yeahhhhh  Boyyyy!!”  After my 5 minutes of celebrating with myself, I remembered I had to pack up all my belongings and head to the airport.  I don’t think you ever saw a person pack a bag so fast.   When I landed back home, my smile quickly changed into a slight frown.  I know my mom means well, but all I could picture was the long ride home having to answer questions as to why I didn’t make the team.  And then explaining how I have an opportunity to be with the home team, New England Patriots. 

Side Bar:
To show you how much my mother knows...During a game in college, I was called for a holding penalty.  “Holding, number 88.”  And all of the sudden with a loud yell that only a proud mother could make, “That’s my baby!  Keep it up!” came from the stands.  My teammates all came over to me laughing and smiling, “Kerry, does she know that’s not a good thing?”  Love you ma.
Side Bar over

Needless to say I didn’t sleep that night. The next day, I headed over to the, then, Foxboro Stadium.  When I walked in I was brought down to the offices to go over the details of my contract and get that signed.  Once the contract was signed, I was shown to my locker and given a quick tour of the stadium.  On my tour, I bumped into a soon-to-be great friend, Marc Megna.  Marc and I played against each other all through college.  He’s a Fall River native, but neither one of us knew each other until this point.  After the tour, I headed home and was ready to get things going.  And, of course, I had another sleepless night.

The next day, I start my journey as a New England Patriot.  I got to learn from one of the best tight ends in the game at that point in time, Ben Coates! Hot dog! (Sorry for the Mickey Mouse Club reference)  This first day was a tough one for me. Contrary to what many may think I’m a very shy and quiet person.  So I had to get reacquainted quickly so I could feel comfortable and be myself on the field.  The days that followed looked like this:

5am: Wake up
6:30am: Arrive at stadium                            
7am: Workout                                            
8:30am: Breakfast                                          
9am: Team meeting                                  
9:30am: Offensive group meeting
10:15am: Position meetings
11am: Special teams meeting
12pm: Lunch
2pm-4pm: Practice
4:30pm: Team meeting
5pm: Offensive group meeting
6pm: Home

Long days, but I loved every bit of it.  This season was filled with its ups and down, just like every season, but my goal was to have a lot more ups than downs.  Curious to what those roller coaster moments were?  Tune in next time as I will share my experiences throughout the season.

Until next time, continue to live a life 1 degree above the rest.