Football journey: Taylor Price


FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Wide receiver Taylor Price has had a quiet rookie season, not appearing in a regular-season game. But he's been working hard behind the scenes to position himself when the opportunity arises.

That has been an adjustment for the 23-year-old Price, who was a workhorse on the field for Ohio University from 2006 to 2009.

The Hilliard, Ohio native shares his football journey with ESPNBoston.com:

When he first started playing football: "I was 11 or 12 years old. They called it "Optimist League." I was about 75 pounds. My next-door neighbor was my head coach and a lot of kids in the neighborhood played. Those were good memories; a lot of us played on the same team after going through a little draft."

Why he first started playing: "I love sports. I was a baseball kid and I also played basketball. I always wanted to play football but my mom [Kim Price-Sheehan] wouldn't let me play until I was big enough to protect myself. I finally got a shot to play and I kept pursuing it. I always thought baseball would be the sport I would play the longest, but I kind of got burned out after a while. Football ended up taking over my heart."

First positions: "Running back. I think everyone starts out as a running back -- sweep left, sweep left. I was middle linebacker on defense."

Football as a part of the culture in Hilliard: "It's right outside Columbus and it's a big Buckeye area. There is no NFL team there, so they follow their Buckeyes like an NFL team. Football is real big in Ohio; anywhere you go you're going to find good football -- from Division 1 through Division 6 in high school."

Favorite NFL team growing up: "I didn't have one. I liked watching good players. I'd watch the prime-time games, Sunday night football, Monday night football. I watched Randy Moss, Keyshawn Johnson, Deion [Sanders], Troy [Aikman], Michael Irvin."

Mentors who helped him along the way: "Kelly Jenkins, my head coach from my second year of playing football in Optimist 2 League, is still my best friend to this day. Him and his family have three kids and they looked out for me. We still keep in contact and I just sent them back a couple of jerseys for Christmas. He was a father figure for me because my parents were divorced -- taking me to practice, taking me to games, helping buy some equipment if I needed it [New York Post story]."

Memories from Darby High School in Hilliard: "I was a late bloomer in high school, maturing later than others. I played cornerback as a longer, lankier guy. We had just opened in '97; it was a new high school, so we weren't too good."

Why he chose to attend Ohio University: "I didn't have great grades coming out of high school. I had about a 2.2 cumulative and not a real good ACT score; I took it three times. They were the only school to really stick with me through that process, knowing I didn't have great grades and knowing if I wouldn't have gotten the right score on the last time I took the ACT, I would not have qualified. Coach [Frank] Solich had been at Nebraska, a big-name coach, and he had just come to Ohio and was bringing in good recruits. I saw us winning more games and him turning the program around a little bit, so that's why I decided to go there."

Top memories at Ohio: "Probably my freshman year, going to a Bowl game, going to the MAC championship game. I was playing as a freshman, so I was like, 'This is it, we're going to go to a Bowl game every year and compete for the MAC championship.' But it wasn't like that -- after that, we went two years being average, mediocre. My senior year, we went to the MAC championship again and lost. We went to another Bowl game that year and lost. That's kind of where we're at in our program; we need to switch it over. Coach Solich is doing a great job and now it's about turning that tide and winning those games."

Moving from cornerback to receiver as a freshman at Ohio: "It's always been natural to catch the ball -- hand-eye coordination and then running. It was an easy transition for me. I wanted to make the switch. I was more comfortable with that, especially as I grew longer and lankier. I thought my best shot to play pro ball was to change positions and work on that."

Reaction to being drafted by the Patriots in the third round (90th overall): "It was a long day. I was watching with [former coach] Kelly Jenkins and his family; they had me and my mom over to their house with close friends. I was just so relieved and joyful. Everything just culminated in that one night. It's hard to explain the emotions I was going through. Being around that group of people, I couldn't have asked for anything better. I couldn't have asked for a better organization to go to and being coached by great coaches and being around great players. Now the next step is getting on the field and making a name for yourself and playing good ball."

How he would describe what his rookie season has been like: "A learning process. Definitely. Just taking it all in stride and trying to learn as much as I can, taking everything the coaches are saying, and the players, and apply it to myself and keep growing as an individual and a professional."

Summing up his football journey: "It's fulfillment up to this point. Everything has happened how I wanted it to happen to this point. Now it's to-be-continued. The process now is to get on the field and make plays for this team, find my niche on this team and help us win games."