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Lions’ free-agent camp: Eric Taylor tries to get back to a CFL future

Andrew Bucholtz
55 Yard Line

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Eric Taylor (centre) sets up to run a 40-yard dash at Saturday's camp.

For the majority of the players, Saturday’s B.C. Lions’ free agent camp in Seattle presented a chance to try and earn a spot with an unfamiliar team in an unfamiliar league. That wasn’t the case for receiver Eric Taylor, though. After a Division II NCAA career at Concordia University in Selma, Alabama, Taylor was with the Lions in 2008 and briefly in 2009. He spent the last three years playing in smaller professional indoor leagues, and saw Saturday’s camp as a chance to maybe prove he deserves another CFL chance.

“I believe I can play up there, that’s the main reason I’m here,” Taylor said. “If I had no confidence I could play, I’d just hang it up, coach and give back, but right now I think I can still play at a high level.”

He said his previous time with the Lions was enjoyable, but it was far from easy for him to get settled with the team.

“It was pretty good,” Taylor said. “It was kind of like a roller-coaster ride for me because they released me after training camp, then they signed me back two weeks into the season, then they released me like the week before training camp again. It was like a roller coaster ride for me, but hey, it is what it is. It’s professional football.”

Unlike most of the receivers working out at Saturday’s camp, Taylor has experience with the CFL’s differing rules and field. He said those rules required an adjustment, but it wasn’t a really difficult one.

“The main difference, well, there’s two,” Taylor said. “The extra guy on the field—in American football it’s 11, in the CFL, it’s 12—and getting used to the waggle, the motion. If you can adapt to that, if you can adjust, it’s football.”

Taylor said he’s a big fan of the CFL brand of football.

“It’s interesting as a receiver,” he said. “It’s primary a passing league, it’s a receiver’s dream. The game’s lovely.”

Taylor said he hasn’t been idle since his last stint with the Lions, competing in other U.S.-based leagues.

“I’ve been playing professional indoor football for the last three years,” he said. “I took a break this year because I wanted to get ready to actually do this workout. I played in Texas after my B.C. Lions’ stint. I played in Fairbanks, Alaska and also Washington.”

He said the level of those leagues isn’t nearly as high, though, which is part of what prompted him to try to get back to the CFL.

“There’s no comparison,” Taylor said. “You basically do it to stay in shape and hope you can get a little film to impress scouts at the next level be it CFL or NFL, and get your shot to move on from there.”

Taylor said he believed in his ability, but he recognized the stiff odds he was facing. He wasn’t worried, though.

“It is what it is,” he said. “What happens, happens. All you can do is come out, do your best and do what you do.”

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