MACOMB, Ill. (WGEM) — As Brett Taylor wrapped up Minnesota Vikings rookie mini-camp last weekend he was greeted by upper management.
Taylor was getting an extended stay.
"I didn’t really know what to say at first. I was still in shock," Taylor said.
"I just said ‘thank you’ a lot. I can’t thank them enough for the opportunity. To attend rookie mini-cap is an honor but for them to sign me is a tremendous feeling."
The emotions of signing with an NFL team hit all at once on his flight home.
"It was just surreal. I was looking around…whoa I’m actually an NFL player right now. It was a surreal moment."
It’s a completely different feeling than a few weeks back when the former Macomb High School and Western Illinois star had an abbreviated Pro Day at Northwestern after what many viewed an unimpressive workout.
"It was very hard mentally I’d have to say, but I always kept faith. I always believed in myself," Taylor said.
"If a lot of people aren’t believing in you, you just got to believe in yourself. By doing that I think you can achieve anything."
Taylor kept his chin up and waited for his next opportunity, which came as no surprise to his high school football coach, Kelly Sears.
"Everywhere he’s been he’s had to prove himself. Even out of high school he didn’t have all the Division I schools knocking down his door. He had a couple but a lot of them were (FCS) schools like Western. Brett stepped up and proved himself," Sears, the former Macomb head coach, indicated.
"I am very happy for him. I’m already getting my tickets to go watch him in training camp. I’m not a Vikings fan but I’m one right now."
Taylor knows there’s still plenty left to attain.
"I think I’ve got to be the first one in the locker room (and) the last one to leave as well," he said.
"I think I have to be the hardest worker. But I have to shop every day and do my job to the best of my ability. If I do the best of my ability I have nothing to be ashamed of. I just hope it’s good enough."
Taylor heads back to Minnesota on Saturday for OTA’s in preparation for Vikings training camp this summer.