By Chadd Cripe
© 2014 Idaho Statesman
Here is the third and final in my series of posts based on interviews conducted with former Boise State football players at last week’s Gridiron Social.
The first installment was about Quintin Mikell and Daryn Colledge.
The second installment covered Jeron Johnson, Austin Pettis, Chase Baker and Nate Potter.
Today: Jamar Taylor and Korey Hall.
Taylor experienced such a miserable first season in the NFL that he wasn’t sure he’d continue playing. He battled a hernia and torn abductor (groin area) muscle while playing in nine games for the Miami Dolphins without a start.
“It was to the point last year I thought I was done playing football,” Taylor said. “I didn’t want to play anymore. I was out of it. Thank God for my girlfriend, my family, my pastors and God — because I made it through and kept working. I’m really looking forward to this year. I’m going to turn a lot of heads.”
Taylor said the injuries were demoralizing.
“Coming back, not being myself, being slower, not as quick, not as agile — watching on Sunday, knowing you want to play, knowing you’re better than some guys and there’s nothing you can do about it,” he said.
He has spent much of his offseason in Boise. He took a couple of classes toward his master’s in kinesiology (he’s a semester away from graduating), mentored some of the Broncos’ current defensive backs and reunited with former coach Marcel Yates and the Boise State trainers.
Plus, his girlfriend, Mackenzie Flannigan, is on the Boise State track team.
Now the 2013 second-round draft pick is healthy and confident again.
“We’ve got a lot of competition (with the Dolphins) but I’m not scared of competition,” Taylor said. “May the best man win. I played with a lot of great DBs here. … I’m healthy and ready to take over the world. That’s my plan.”
Taylor also has high hopes for the Broncos’ defense under Yates, the new defensive coordinator who was Taylor’s defensive backs coach for four years.
“It’s real good to have him back,” Taylor said. “I’m happy for him. I know he wanted a D-coordinator job. That was the reason he left in the first place — he wanted to get his resume together. He’s doing a great job getting the team back together.
“(I expect) a defense that just doesn’t give up really anything, that talks a lot of trash and has fun — kind of how it used to be.”
Hall is the defensive equivalent of Kellen Moore in the Bleymaier Football Center, where his play as a starting linebacker from 2003 to 2006 is considered the gold standard.
Hall played with, or for, many of the Broncos’ coaches during his career.
“Just to see all of the alumni on the coaching staff makes you think back at how great the program has been the past 10 years,” Hall said. “… (Coming back) it kind of makes you feel proud to think you helped stack one of those stones that helped build this.”
Hall, of Glenns Ferry, retired early in the 2012 season after four seasons with the Packers and one with the Saints as a fullback. He won a Super Bowl with the Packers.
He retired, he said, because of a bout with stingers. He spent a couple days with the Arizona Cardinals after the Saints cut him in 2012 and experienced multiple stingers.
“I just decided my health wasn’t allowing me to play the game the way I wanted to play it,” he said. “I just decided the best thing for myself and my family was to retire. I probably could have kept playing, but … I can say I went out the way I want to go out.”
Hall and his wife, Jennifer, have a 14-month-old daughter named Josslyn. They live in Boise.
Hall, who earned a construction management degree, is a project engineer for construction company ESI.
“At some point, I can see myself trying to run something on my own,” he said, “but for right now I’m learning a ton and it’s great to be on that team.”