VFL Darrell Taylor Honors Late Mother With NFL Jersey Tribute

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    Darrell Taylor

    Former Tennessee DE Darrell Taylor. Photo Credit: Will Boling/RTI

    Former Tennessee defensive end Darrell Taylor is entering his second year in the NFL with the Seattle Seahawks. However, Taylor will change things up a bit in the jersey department. After playing his rookie season with the number 58, Taylor switched to the number 52 in 2021. The change was, in part, to honor his late mother.

    “My mom wore 25 when she was in high school,” Taylor said at the Seahawks training camp in May. “She was really good at basketball, supposed to be All-American and all that stuff, but was scared to get on a plane. So I wear 52 to represent her.”

    While part of the number switch was to honor his mother, the other part was simply symbolism for a fresh start in 2021. Taylor never saw the field during his rookie year. He was out due to injury, which happened to be one that he suffered his final season at Tennessee. So for Taylor, the Seahawks’ second round-pick just two years ago, he is just eager to fly around the field again.

    “I just kind of felt like last year was a lot,” Taylor continued to say. “It was hard last year, so I changed my number because I didn’t want to wear 58 anymore because I didn’t want it to be a representation of last year. So I thought 52 would be a perfect number to go with to represent my mother.”

    Darrell Taylor

    Linebacker Darrell Taylor (52) at the Seattle Seahawks training camp on Thursday in Renton. (Dean Rutz / The Seattle Times)

    On Saturday night, Taylor, donning his new No. 52 jersey, had an impressive showing in the Seahawks preseason finale. The former Volunteer finished the game with four tackles, three as solo tackles, and 1.5 sacks. On Saturday, Taylor was an instrumental part in the Seahawks’ suffocating defense as Seattle beat the Chargers 27-0.

    Darrell Taylor used his speed and leverage to get his sack on Saturday night. Taylor, lined up on the right side of the defensive line, flew across the line when the ball was snapped. Taylor blew past Chargers’ left tackle Trey Pipkins to take down quarterback Chase Daniel in his blind spot. The entire play, from snap to sack, was about three seconds in total. Talk about blazing speed; Taylor certainly still has it.

    Taylor has been with the starting defensive unit for all three of Seattle’s preseason games. The second-year player from Tennessee is still working to knock off the rust, but if his showing on Saturday was indicative of anything, it’s that Taylor is peaking at the right time.

    Former Tennessee Vol Josh Palmer also played in Saturday’s week three preseason game, although on the other sideline. This preseason, the rookie has been excellent as he battles it out for a starting spot on the Chargers’ receiving core. Palmer finished the game on Saturday was three catches for 26 yards. In total, Palmer has ten receptions for 65 yards and one touchdown in his first NFL preseason.

    Now that the Seahawks’ preseason games have concluded, the next time Darrell Taylor will be on the field will be during his first NFL regular-season action. And while Taylor is on the field, he will be rocking No. 52 as a tribute to his late mother.

    Ric Butler is a Knoxville based sports media personality who has covered University of Tennessee athletics since 2017. Most recently, he served as the lead writer for the website of a local radio station. Ric also helped create and host a daily radio show called “The Blitz." Ric’s passion for sports, smooth vocal, and infectious personality have made him popular with both his peers and Vol Nation. Originally from Dallas, Ric didn’t grow up riding horses to school. But he did dream of the big city lights. When not chasing down the latest Tennessee story, Ric can be found watching the WWE, often attempting their moves in an embarrassing fashion.