Bears News: Taylor reflects on his journey, talks about potentially kicking off
David Banks - USA Today Sports

Bears News: Taylor reflects on his journey, talks about potentially kicking off


by - Correspondent -

CHICAGO - From Australia to the NFL, punter Tory Taylor has had a unique journey to the league and his four-year $4,767,900 contract with the Chicago Bears. Even from college to the NFL, Taylor said there is quite a difference in the level of talent witnessed in practice and the atmosphere.

“Here, everybody’s elite. So, I think that’s probably really the one thing that stood out and just how nice everyone is here,” Taylor said. “I was kind of, obviously, a little bit nervous coming in here. But, everyone just made me feel really welcome, really from the top. (General manager) Ryan (Poles, (head coach) Coach (Eberflus) and (special teams coordinator) Coach Hightower, and all the players really can’t complain at all. I’m just really happy to be a Bear. It worked out perfectly.”

Taylor has minimal football experience compared to other players who enter the NFL. He was not a punter in high school, but he did play football in Australia before playing at the University of Iowa for four years. The All-American shattered records with the Hawkeyes including records for number of punts (295) and total punt average (46.3).

His total punt average of 46.3 was also the greatest in the NCAA since at least 2000.

“I really think about five years ago, if someone told me that I’d be standing at the podium in an NFL facility, I would have told them they’re absolutely crazy. So, a lot’s kind of come about the last three or four years at Iowa,” Taylor said. “I’m really just grateful to be here. Really nice people in the building and it’s really just an honor. At the end of the day, it’s the Chicago Bears. Yesterday before my first ever punt period in the NFL, Coach Hightower came up to me. He’s like, ‘Man, you’re a Chicago Bear.’ That really helps me settle the nerves a little bit. So, I’m just really grateful to be here, certainly come a long way in a few years.”

His first year in the NFL will also be the first season with the NFL’s new kickoff rule. Taylor is the starting punter for Chicago since they released last season’s punter, Trenton Gill, shortly after drafting Taylor. However, Coach Hightower alluded to the possibility of Taylor getting some action in the kickoff game.

As a competitor, Taylor just wants to win and if doing kickoffs will help the Bears win, that is something Taylor is open to doing.

“Whatever I can do to help the team, I’m going to do it, and if that’s something that Coach Hightower wants, absolutely. I’m going to be out there. I want to be out there for as many plays as I can because I feel like there’s really only (a) a certain amount of positions in football where you can manipulate the game how you want to manipulate the game, and punting is one of them,” Taylor said.

“I’m fortunate enough to be one of the guys on the field that has the ball in his hands, and that means at that specific period of time, you’re in control of the game, and obviously, I want to win. So, I’m going to control the game how I want to and if that includes being out on kickoff, then that would be great and obviously the new rules are certainly going to keep a few special teams coaches up late at night, and it’s kind of funny, if I went out there, a lot of teams are going to be like, ‘Oh, what’s he doing out there? Something’s coming.’ So, it will be good fun for sure.”

Chicago fans will most likely get a glimpse of Taylor’s leg strength and what he can do during the preseason. The Bears’ preseason has an extra game as they will be playing in the Hall of Fame game on Aug. 1 (7 p.m./ABC) against the Houston Texans before kicking off the regular season at home against the Tennessee Titans on Sept. 8 (Noon / FOX).

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