WR Collin Taylor Returns to Gladiators
Tuesday January 12, 2016
CLEVELAND - The Cleveland Gladiators of the Arena Football League have been assigned WR Collin Taylor, the team announced Tuesday.
Taylor, 28, enters his sixth season in the AFL and third with the Gladiators following an impressive 2015 campaign in which Taylor ranked top-five in the league in receptions (144), sixth in receiving yards (1,597) and third in touchdowns (43), all career-highs.
“I’m very excited to get back to Cleveland and kick this season off,” said Taylor. “I feel like we fell short of our potential last year, and since that playoff loss, I’ve been itching to get back to work. I’m ready to start building this 2016 team and can’t wait to get that Gladiators jersey back on.”
Gladiators head coach Steve Thonn said Taylor’s abilities and experience are important to this team. In his AFL career, Taylor has 314 receptions, 3,528 yards and 73 touchdowns to his credit.
“It’s great for our team as well as our organization to have Collin back for the 2016 season,” Thonn explained. “He’s coming off a very successful season where he put up some very big numbers for us. He’s a tough, dependable wide receiver and we are extremely excited that he will be a big part of our offense again this year.”
Taylor first burst onto the scene as a key contributor for the Gladiators’ offense in 2014 when he caught 80 passes for 876 yards and 20 touchdowns. That year, Thonn led Taylor and the rest of the Gladiators to a historic 17-1 regular season record which resulted in the team’s first American Conference Championship, culminating in a trip to ArenaBowl XXVII.
Taylor says having Coach Thonn at the helm in Cleveland was a major factor in the receiver’s decision to return to the Gladiators.
“Coach Thonn is the best coach I’ve played for,” Taylor said. “His relationship with his players and his love for the game are unmatched. The entire organization, from top to bottom; our owner, general manager and front office staff are second to none. The Cleveland fans have always been very supportive of the team, as well as myself.”
When it came down to it, Taylor says he loves performing in front of friends and family at Quicken Loans Arena.
“It sounds ridiculous, but after talking with my five year-old nephew about the possibility of playing somewhere else, he wasn’t having it,” said Taylor. “He wasn’t interested in watching all the games on television. He prefers to be there in person and I wasn’t going to take that away from him.”
On the field, Taylor’s contributions extend well beyond the offensive side of the ball. In the last two seasons combined, Taylor registered 31.5 tackles and intercepted two passes (one for a touchdown) from the Jack Linebacker position and is a key contributor on special teams.
Prior to joining the Gladiators, Taylor spent two seasons with the Iowa Barnstormers and totaled 88 receptions, 942 receiving yards and nine touchdowns during his stint in Des Moines following his rookie campaign in 2010 with the Tulsa Talons.
A Carmel, Indiana native, Taylor played collegiately at Indiana University from 2005 to 2009 where he played wide receiver his first three seasons before switching to safety for his senior year.