GREEN BAY, Wis. – When Patrick Taylor saw his former Green Bay Packers backfield-mates, Aaron Jones and Emanuel Wilson, get carted off the field during the first half on Sunday, he had a feeling he might be returning Green Bay.
Sure enough, his agent, Chris Cabott, had just talked to Packers executive Russ Ball. At halftime, Cabott called Taylor. His wife answered and handed him the phone and said:
“‘Hey, we’re going back to Green Bay.’”
Taylor joined the Packers as an undrafted free agent in 2020. Whether it was injured reserve, the active roster or the practice squad, Taylor stuck with the team through Week 5 of this season. Within a span of a few days, Taylor went from being promoted from the practice squad to the 53-man roster to playing at Las Vegas to being released. Rather than re-signing Taylor to the practice squad, the Packers instead signed veteran James Robinson.
Thanks for nothing, in other words.
“I’d say it left a bad taste in my mouth, for sure,” Taylor said. “But I know nobody owes you anything in this league, no matter how hard you work, no matter all the things that you do. It’s a performance-based business. If you’re not playing well or you’re not helping the team, then they’ll get rid of you.
“It left a bad taste in my mouth, for sure, but I’m grateful that it happened. It gave me a different perspective of everything moving forward. But I am grateful for the opportunity to be back here and be back with my boys, and play with the Packer G.”
Taylor quickly landed on the New England Patriots’ practice squad. That’s where he was on Sunday, with Taylor enjoying a bye week by watching his former team with his wife.
Sour taste or not, three game checks are three game checks – that’s the minimum amount of time the Packers must keep Taylor on their 53-man roster.
Returning to Green Bay “absolutely” was a business decision, he said.
“I feel like I left on a bad note,” he said. “I didn’t really leave. But I’m excited for the opportunity that I get here moving forward. I always tell myself this: You’re just an opportunity away from being a force in this league. So, I don’t put any added pressure on myself. Just going out there and playing the game that I’ve been playing for 21 years and I’m going to have fun with it.”
Having spent four training camps in Green Bay, Taylor said he’s “pretty confident in the play calls” and his ability to relearn the Packers’ playbook and verbiage and set aside what he’d learned with the Patriots over the past six weeks.
This will be a hectic week for Taylor, who flew to Green Bay on Monday night. His Tuesday schedule included game-planning meetings, a walk-through practice and a trip to U-Haul to pick up his stuff, which his wife had packed and shipped. Then, it’ll be off to Detroit for a Thanksgiving rivalry game with his parents in attendance.
“Whatever I’m asked to do for the team, I’ll do it,” Taylor said. “I want to be able to help the team win in every aspect that I can whether that’s on special teams, running the ball, catching the ball, pass protection.”
After sitting out his rookie season with a foot injury sustained in college, Taylor in 27 career games has rushed 44 times for 151 yards and caught eight passes for 48 yards. With Jones having suffered a sprained MCL and Wilson a shoulder injury, he figures to be the No. 2 back behind Dillon on Sunday at Detroit.
“I know opportunities are hard to come by in this league, but guys who work hard and show up on time and put the work in and always prepare like they’re playing, the opportunity is going to present itself and you’re going to perform well,” Taylor said.
“I think that’s going to show, a lot of guys over the course of the league, guys who didn’t really get much of a chance or opportunity, they get that one opportunity which they prepare for and they’re ready for it.”