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View from the O-Zone: Another Taylor? Who knows?


INDIANAPOLIS – The odds are oh-so-against it. Not that it wouldn't be cool.

Actually, it would be cool to a phenomenal extent.

But let's be real: as good a story as it would be, Kelvin Taylor probably won't be playing for the Jaguars come the fall. The odds against are 32-to-1 – or something to that effect, anyway.

That doesn't mean we can't root for it to happen.

We bring this up on Wednesday of the NFL 2016 Scouting Combine because Taylor – a running back from the University of Florida – spoke to the media at event that day. We also bring it up because Taylor is the son of one of the greatest, most-popular players ever to play for the Jaguars.

Yes, Kelvin Taylor is the son of Fred Taylor, and that was a topic Wednesday.

"Me and my dad have a great relationship, every day just talking ball and different defenses," Taylor said late Wednesday afternoon. "It's really him putting a lot of knowledge on my head about the NFL process. Everything – from the ins and outs to the playbooks, to everything you could possibly know.

"My dad, he did a great job with me and I'm very thankful to have a father who played in the NFL."

This isn't a story about the son living up to the career of the father. That wouldn't be fair.

Fred Taylor entered the NFL as the No. 9 overall selection in the 1998 NFL Draft by the Jaguars, and used a rare combination of size, strength, side-to-side cutting ability and near-world class speed to be one of the league's all-time leading rushers. He's one of the great under-appreciated players of the last two decades. He also was a Hall-of-Fame talent who has yet to get his due – although that's a story for another day.

Kelvin isn't that level of prospect. He's projected as a likely late-round draft selection, and it remains to be seen of course, how effective he will be at the NFL level.

But he will absolutely will get a chance, and he certainly hasn't given up on the chance of enhancing the family NFL tradition.

"Hopefully one day I'll be better than him," he said with a smile. "That would be awesome."

And who knows? Maybe he will be.

What was clear listening to Taylor Wednesday is he is father's son. Close your eyes and listen; you can hear Fred in his voice. As someone fortunate enough to have covered his father early in his career, that's not an unpleasant thing to hear. Kelvin on Wednesday was cordial and respectful with the media, as was his father. He was quick with a smile and eager to answer questions best as possible, as was his father. When his time with the media Wednesday was done, he took time to thank those crowded around his table for interviewing him.

That, too, is something the father would have done.

The son not unexpectedly was asked a lot about the father Thursday. This is, after all, an NFL event and many of the media know more about his father than they do Kelvin.

One thing the son clarified Wednesday: that the throat-slash gesture that caused controversy this past season was not a "tribute" to his father. Fred Taylor was fined for such a gesture during his NFL career.

"I didn't even know my father did that until after the game," he said. "Two or three weeks later, someone told me that. … No, no, no. That wasn't a tribute."

Yes, he said, his father offered pre-combine advice.

"He told me to enjoy it, to embrace the moment," Taylor said. "It doesn't come around often. It doesn't come around often at all, so you really have to be thankful and enjoy every bit of being out there in Indy and have a great time while you're here."

And absolutely the two have talked – a lot – about what to expect from this whole NFL thing.

"He's definitely told me a lot about what to expect," Taylor said. "I listen to my father well, but at the same time, I just go out and enjoy the process and have a great time playing the game that I love."

As we close, we repeat: this is not a column about the son surpassing the father. Kelvin Taylor could be really, really good and not achieve that. Shoot, he could be great and not achieve that.

Will he get a chance to show if he can even get close? Yes. Will it happen in Jacksonville? There's a chance of course, however slim.

But whatever the odds, it sure would be cool. And it would be a lot of fun, too.

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