The NFL is a business, one that can often be cruel to players trying to crack a 53-man roster.
Kerry Taylor knows this all too well.
After not being selectedtha in the 2011 NFL Draft, the former ASU wideout has been released or waived on five different occasions by four different organizations (Green Bay Packers, New England Patriots, Minnesota Vikings and San Francisco).
For a guy who has just one appearance — active for the Cardinals’ 2012 season finale at San Francisco — in his brief NFL career, Taylor knows he still has plenty to prove.
And his coach would seem to agree.
“He’s still a rookie, I don’t think he has a season accrued yet,” Bruce Arians said Monday.
Rookie or otherwise, Taylor has played his way (caught a team-high four catches for 85 yards in Saturday’s 12-7 victory over the Dallas Cowboys) into the thick of the team’s competition for the No. 4 wide receiver spot behind Larry Fitzgerald, Andre Roberts and Michael Floyd — a competition that took a bit of a twist with the signing of veteran Mike Thomas Tuesday.
Yet for the well-traveled Sun Devil, concerning himself with the acquisition of Thomas or the play of fellow teammates Charles Hawkins and Jaron Brown isn’t high on his list of priorities during training camp.
“You have to just worry about yourself,” Taylor told Arizona Sports 620’s Doug & Wolf Wednesday. “You can’t really worry about what other guys are doing or are not doing. You just have to focus on your assignments and what you have to get done.
“Hopefully at the end of the day, you’ve done enough to catch a coach’s eye and make a case to be on the 53-man roster. It’s one of those things where you just have to work hard and not worry about what goes on around you.”
If Taylor is to catch his coach’s eye, the 24-year-old believes it’ll likely have as much to do with his intelligence and versatility as it does with his hands and athleticism.
“I’m a guy that can learn multiple receiver positions,” said Taylor. “Being the fourth receiver right now, I can fill in at any spot, whether someone goes down or coaches need me to run over to X or run over to Z to run a play.
“I’m a guy that can go in there and who knows what to do. That’s the big thing I’ve been trying to do all camp, be consistent and show the coaches I can come in at any time and get the job done.”
One game does not a preseason make, so as the race to make the 53-man roster reaches its tipping point over the next few weeks, don’t expect the ‘rookie’ to sit back and let the competition come to him.
When asked if he’s done enough to make the team already, Taylor, who missed a week of practice in early August due to a hamstring injury, didn’t have to think twice.
“No, not yet. It was only one game [against Dallas],” said Taylor. “We still have two preseason games to go. I have to keep making plays in these next two games to hopefully solidify a spot on the team. But it’s never over until they release the 53-man roster.”