Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Harsh Lesson at 14 Started Taylor's Journey to Top

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Harsh Lesson at 14 Started Taylor's Journey to Top

Article excerpt

Aaron Taylor's version of Beach Blanket Bingo wasn't a hit back home.

"We went to the beach and got drunk with a couple girls," Taylor said. "I showed up at 7 o'clock in the morning. My mother worked nights, and I thought I could beat her home."

He didn't. His mother, Mardi, kicked him out of the house. If Taylor wasn't willing to abide by her rules, he wasn't welcome.

"I was 14," Taylor said. "Couldn't nobody tell me anything. And she was a stupid adult who didn't know anything. I knew the world and I was indestructible. Who was she to tell me anything?"

Taylor now concedes that he was shocked by his ouster.

He called a friend, a friend who had accompanied him to the beach that night, and stayed with him. About a week later, he was on the phone with his mother. Both ended up crying.

"I didn't feel comfortable with the things I was doing, and I wanted a change," Taylor said. "I felt that the area I was in was detracting from the things I was capable of doing."

So Mardi and her only child moved. She urged him to find an interest, get involved, search for a goal in life. He chose sports at their new home in Concord, Calif., and started playing football as a high school junior.

The University of Notre Dame is glad he did. So is a yet-to-be-determined National Football League team.

A two-time All-American for the Fighting Irish and the 1993 Lombardi Award winner, Taylor figures to be the top offensive lineman taken in the draft. Either the Los Angeles Rams with the fifth pick, Tampa Bay at No. 6, or Chicago at No. 11 could call Taylor's number Sunday.

"He has a chance to be a great player," Irish offensive-line coach Joe Moore said.

Taylor played left tackle last fall at Notre Dame, but spent his previous two seasons as a starting guard. At 6 feet 3, Taylor is an inch or two shy of the preferred height for an NFL tackle. …

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