Fall means football—on television and at our teenager’s middle schools and high schools—and so to kick off the season, Your Teen sat down for a Q&A with the Phil Taylor, NFL Player of the Cleveland Browns. His advice for young athletes? “Keep those grades up!”
Interview With Phil Taylor, Cleveland Brown’s Player
Q: When did you start playing football?
Taylor: I first started playing football in 9th grade. I wanted to play earlier but since I was one of the biggest kids in my age group they wanted to make me play with kids that were about six years older than me. I played basketball and bowling until I got to 9th grade.
Q: Did you ever want to quit and what made you stick with it?
Taylor: I did quit football—on the first day of practice. It was so hot and the drill we had to do was crazy. My dad came up to the school and gave me a few choice words and I went back out there. My closest friends helped me get through the workout. I truly thank them and my dad because I wouldn’t be where I am today without their push.
Q: Have you had any concussions? What was the protocol?
Taylor: Yes. I had one last season and with all the new lawsuits being filed by ex-players, the NFL has cracked down on concussion protocol. We are required to due numerous tests to evaluate our symptoms.
Q: Do you have advice for kids?
Taylor: When it comes to concussions, sometimes they just happen and you can’t avoid them. There is one way you can try to prevent concussions: keep your head up when you’re about to tackle someone.
Q: When should kids start playing tackle football?
Taylor: Well, I didn’t start until I was in 9th grade but it’s different for each child. I wouldn’t start them too early because of the risk of injury. If I had a kid, I would start him off with flag football first and see how that goes and go from there.
Q: Do you see yourself as a role model?
Taylor: Yes I do because I know there are numerous little kids out there who want to be in my shoes. I want them to know that they can be if they work hard. And I want to encourage them to stay in school because it will make their lives so much easier.
Q: What do you do to be a good brother to your younger sister?
Q: What are three things you want to tell teen male athletes?
Taylor: 1. Stay in school and out of trouble.
2. Keep your grades up because college and NFL coaches look at that.
3. Listen to your coaches; they know what they are talking about.
Q: How do you feel about Johnny Manziel?
Taylor: Johnny is a great athlete and I’ve seen some good things from him during practice. He still needs to mature and learn the playbook and the speed of the game. When it comes to who’s going to start, I don’t know. It will be a battle. Hoyer is playing great as well and WILL not back down from anyone, so Johnny is going to have to work!
Q: Do you have an opinion about school and college before playing professional sports?
Taylor: Absolutely. Keeping your grades up is very important, probably more than you think. In high school, you need good grades to get into college. You may be one of the top high school prospects but if your grades aren’t good enough then you can’t go to your dream D1 college because of the NCAA clearinghouse. When it comes to going from college to professional, your grades still matter. NFL coaches will pay attention to your grades as a sign of how important learning is for you and to see how quickly you will be able to grasp a playbook.