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Friday, April 23, 2010
Welcome to the NFL, Taylor Mays

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

RENTON, Wash. -- Taylor Mays took it personally when his former college coach, Pete Carroll, drafted another safety, Earl Thomas, despite his history with Mays at USC.

Taylor Mays
Taylor Mays had some choice words for his former college coach.
"It was just interesting," Mays told reporters covering the 49ers. "I definitely thought from the relationship that we had (that Carroll would draft him). The things that he had told me about the things I needed to do, I felt he told me the complete opposite from the actions that he took. It was alarming with who he took as a safety. I understand it's a business, but you should be honest. That's all I'm asking for. I look forward to playing for coach (Mike) Singletary 16 games a year than I do playing coach Carroll twice a year."

Welcome to the NFL, Taylor.

That warm and fuzzy relationship college coaches share with their players doesn't translate to the big leagues. Carroll would have drawn criticism, and deservedly so, if he had favored his former USC players at the expense of talent.

The Seahawks weren't the only team to pass on Mays. Teams made 48 other selections before the 49ers grabbed Mays in the second round. The 49ers got good value from a talent standpoint, but the Seahawks' selection of Earl Thomas at No. 14 was also a good value pick. Thomas was far superior to Mays in coverage, by all accounts, whereas Mays' playmaking couldn't match his raw talent.

Mays' beef with Carroll should spice up the 49ers-Seahawks season opener, and future meetings between the teams. We'll see if Carroll smooths over the misunderstanding or if Mays cools down once his emotions subside.

The NFL is a business, as Mays acknowledged, and Carroll didn't owe any of his former players favored treatment.