Jamar Taylor of the Cleveland Browns has a skill set that includes anticipatory reflexes, high football IQ, and inimitable tangibles that you don’t often see in most players. The former Boise State Bronco and Helix Highlander was a second round pick in the 2013 NFL draft, and, as of this year, will be playing on a highly rejuvenated and gifted Browns team. Spearheaded by head coach Hue Jackson, the Cleveland roster boasts a deep talent pool that includes gamers such as Robert Griffin III, Joe Thomas, Josh Gordon and Joe Haden. In wanting to catch up with Taylor, a native of La Mesa, Ca, we spoke with the skilled DB about the two topics of consequence that every San Diegian wants to discuss: burritos and music.
Rob Patrick: As a motivational tool, how important and fundamental is music to an athlete’s performance during both practice and game day?
Jamar Taylor: I think every athlete is different. Music can help relax an athlete or get them going. Sometimes it’s something that a song says that hits a point where the athlete is like, “Okay, it’s time to ball out.” Or sometimes it’s the beat that just gets us going.
Who are some of the artists that help you push forward, psychologically, when training?
When training I kind of listen to whomever. I’m a huge J. Cole and Kendrick [Lamar] fan, though, if I’m by myself. Just some lyrical stuff. Maybe some old Lil Wayne will be mixed in.
What songs are in your current rotation right now?
Which one of your teammates, during your professional and/or college career, has had the best music taste?
Professionally, Brent Grimes – we always listened to the same music: Kendrick, Dom Kennedy, The Game. Usually west coast guys. Out of high school, my best friend Chris Peterson. College would be Jerrell Gavins and Antwon Murray.
As a professional athlete, what are some mental tips that you would give to younger players growing up?
Just always to believe in yourself and the situation God has put you in. I think that helps me mentally enough. Don’t ever get over confident or under confident. It’s a fine line.
You’re a proud alum of Helix High, and San Diego is an important fabric to your identity. How has the city’s culture made an imprint on who you are today?
I think San Diego is who I am. If that makes sense. I’m very proud of where I’m from. I think when anyone sees me they can tell I’m a California guy.
From Twitter to Instagram, interactive media has become a basic – and almost essential – tool for an NFL player. What’s the key to micromanaging them on a week-to-week basis?
I really stay off social media. I only keep Facebook because my family. Sometimes fans don’t get that we are people as well. Or they get too involved not knowing the backstories of what’s going on. So, really, I stay off social media [laughs]. But I think, usually, athletes have people manage accounts for them.
Do you have any pregame rituals, and if so, can you share them here?
My rituals are simple: watch film, stretch and relax. Call my family before every game and tell them I love them. Then I tell my wife I love her right before we head out. I also kiss my cross before every series.
Finally, as a San Diego native, who has the best burrito in the city?
I’m not even sure. Any burrito is good when I come home because we don’t have taco shops on the east coast.