No bling, entourage or oversized bachelor crib. No arrogance, ego or sense of entitlement.
Otherwise, he appears the same grounded and humble young man who quarterbacked Hampton High School and
Taylor has graduated to the
Most of his new-found wealth is invested, and most of his energies this week are devoted to a free youth football camp he's staging Saturday at Darling Stadium.
"I thought having a free camp for the kids would be a good way to give back to ... our area," Taylor said Tuesday during an interview at Hampton High. "I know times are hard economically. Just get as many kids as possible out. I know we've got some kids traveling from Baltimore and some from here, too. …
"I think it'll be fun (for me), and I think the (kids) will enjoy it."
The approximately 300 campers expected Saturday — the event is full — would do well to heed Taylor's words and example.
He's yet to reach the NFL's marquee and is aware enough to realize he never may. But he lived in the fishbowl at Hampton and Virginia Tech.
"It's big at any professional level, but at the quarterback position, there's so many eyes on you," Taylor said, "even the people on your team. People look to see what you're doing every second. … You have to take on the task. You can't shy away from it. … It comes with the profession, and it comes with the position."
That's why a big night for Taylor in suburban Baltimore is strolling the mall in Owings Mills or Towson. That's why he rents a modest townhouse, has an entourage of one — his father, Rodney — and hoards his paycheck.
"Unless you get drafted in the first or second round, I think it's best you save your money," Taylor said. "You don't know how the next year or how your contract will play out. … So many guys get in that situation and try to spend their money so quickly … and I know some guys on the team who have, too.
"It's not like you're going to get that paycheck until you're 50 and can retire. You have to be able to budget that money. The average (career) for an NFL player is 31/2 years. … It's definitely sad to hear the stories of people going bankrupt, so I never want to be in that situation. I definitely hit my budget and (savings goal) way above what my financial advisor set. … After the season he was surprised I was way past the number."
Taylor's rookie season went well. He made the roster, hardly a lock for a sixth-rounder, earned the No. 2 job during practices and exhibition games and observed icons such as
Moreover, he was part of a team that reached the
Taylor appeared in three December games for a total of five snaps, running once for 2 yards and completing his only pass for 18. During preseason, he was 37-of-60 for 408 yards, with three interceptions and a game-winning touchdown against the
"Everything you would want from a quarterback, from a guy that hasn't played, Tyrod has it," Ravens general manger
Taylor called 2011 "definitely a learning experience, a humbling experience. Sort of like a redshirt year for me, something I didn't get at Virginia Tech. It allowed me to learn as much as possible. Joe played at a high level last year. He's played at a high level since he's been there. To sit behind him in meeting rooms, watch what he does throughout practice, watch how he conducts the offense in games, it's definitely something to learn from."
Flacco has been as sturdy as quarterbacks get, but backups never know when their chance will arise.
"I'm just taking it one step at a time," Taylor said. "Continue to learn, continue to build my game, so whenever or wherever the shot comes, I'm able to go out there and play at a high level.
"Our chaplain (Johnny Shelton) always told us at Virginia Tech, 'Opportunity will come, but when it comes, will you notice it? And will you be prepared?' That's how I approach my job every day."
Tyrod Taylor Camp
WHEN: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday.
WHERE: Darling Stadium.
WHO: Youth 9-14.