Former Boise State cornerback Jamar Taylor has found a career resurgence in Cleveland, and with it, a bond with his Browns teammates.
Prior to Monday night’s preseason game against the Giants, Taylor was among a dozen Cleveland players taking a knee during the national anthem, a group that included one white player. Colin Kaepernick and others did it last season before games, while more have done so this preseason.
“As an organization, we have a profound respect for our country’s national anthem, flag and the servicemen and servicewomen in the United States and abroad,” the Browns said in a statement. “We feel it’s important for our team to join in this great tradition and special moment of recognition; at the same time we also respect the great liberties afforded by our country, including the freedom of personal expression.”
Said rookie safety Jabrill Peppers: “There’s a lot of racial and social injustices in the world that are going on right now. We just decided to take a knee and pray for the people who have been affected and just pray for the world in general.”
On the field, Taylor has been a big pickup for the Browns. After three seasons, the Dolphins traded the former second-round selection during the 2016 draft. He was ranked as Pro Football Focus’ most improved cornerback last year, showing well working against slot receivers. In the offseason, he was rewarded with a three-year, $15 million contract extension.
Despite the payday, he said he wants to take his game “to another level,” adding that “last year was not good enough for me so I have to take big strides.” On Monday, he had tackles on the first two plays.
“Every day I think about what happened with me in Miami,” Taylor said. “And every day I feel I have to prove to them that they made a mistake. My other edge is, I want to make Pro Bowls and I want to be one of the top five corners, top three corners, so I have a lot to prove and I want (Miami) to think about (trading me) every time they look at the tape and I make plays.”
Next preseason game: at Buccaneers, 5:30 p.m. Saturday
KAMALEI CORREA, LB, RAVENS
In his second season in the NFL, Correa is hoping to go from bust to boom.
“Bust” is a strong term, but that is how an ESPN headline referred to him in January. Correa had four tackles in nine games played as a rookie. But then again, last season would have been his senior year at Boise State.
Correa is now slated to start at the Ravens’ weakside linebacker spot, opened up after Zach Orr’s retirement in January. Orr tried to return to the NFL but said on Friday he is done.
Correa’s athleticism and size (6-foot-3, 250 pounds) fit the position. He has fared well in the preseason, though he did miss a tackle against former teammate Jay Ajayi on an 11-yard reception Thursday.
“There’s still some reps that are head-scratchers, like the drop down to Ajayi,” coach John Harbaugh said. “That’s a tackle that he’d make 99 out of 100 times. ... K.C. is a big, strong guy. There’s no back in this league that he can’t take down.”
Next preseason game: vs. Bills, 5 p.m. Saturday
This is the sixth in our series looking at former Boise State players in the NFL. Previously:
NFC East: Kellen Moore, Orlando Scandrick, Tyrone Crawford, DeMarcus Lawrence, Donte Deayon, Darian Thompson
NFC North: Charles Leno, Sam McCaskill
NFC South: Doug Martin, Jeremy McNichols, Jonathan Moxey, Travis Averill
NFC West: Rees Odhiambo, Chanceller James
AFC East: Jay Ajayi, Shea McClellin, Tanner Vallejo