Brother of former Dolphins star Jason Taylor seeks NFL shot

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OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- The hardest part of Noah Taylor's weekend was the wait.

Conserving energy for Sunday's NFL Regional Combine workout at the Baltimore Ravens' Under Armour Performance Center, Taylor rested in his hotel room for a full day after driving four hours from his hometown of Pittsburgh. Sitting still isn't something Taylor is fond of. A small college prospect out of Division II California University of Pennsylvania, Taylor prefers to work out and prepare as much as possible so that his hope of playing in the NFL remains alive.

It helps that a family member is aiding him along the way.

Separated by 15 years, Taylor's the younger of brother of potential Hall of Fame candidate Jason Taylor, the longtime Miami Dolphins defensive end that totaled 139.5 total sacks in 15 career seasons.

The younger Taylor has received the question his entire life: What's it like being Jason Taylor's younger brother?

"It's not something you really want to separate from," Noah Taylor said. "You don't want to go too far from that. But you definitely want to make your own identity. It's one of those things, I've been living with it when I first put on cleats and I will live with it until I die -- the fact I'm Jason Taylor's little brother."

The brothers are two of five siblings, with Noah, 24, the youngest. When Jason was generating buzz as a high-school standout at Woodland Hills in Pittsburgh, Noah was still a toddler. Jason enjoyed a long ride in the NFL, but Noah has endured injuries and coaching changes thus far in his journey.

Noah Taylor's senior season of high school, also at Woodland Hills, began with a hairline fracture in his ankle that sidelined him the majority of the season. Most schools stopped recruiting him, though Youngstown State offered him a scholarship that winter, which Taylor accepted.

But after two years, four separate defensive playbooks and a head coaching change, Taylor opted to transfer. His high-school coach, George Novak, helped him land at California (Pa.) in 2010.

"I told him I just wanted to play," Taylor said. "I'd rather get on the field. I've been waiting too long. I need to get on the field. I don't want to sit around and wait to play."

After his first year with the Vulcans, Taylor tore his ACL and missed most the following season. He played on the defensive line his final two seasons, filling a need at the three-technique during his senior year. Bulking up to 260 pounds, he worked with the interior linemen this past season before moving outside once some freshmen were up to speed with the defense.

After the season ended, he trimmed his weight to 245 before adding five pounds of muscle to get to what he described as a healthy 250.

Taylor was among the nearly 500 players competing for a spot in the Detroit NFL Super Regional Combine, which will be held April 12-13.

A lot of players, such as Taylor, are rookies looking to prove their worth after not receiving an invite to the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis last month. Other prospects have had previous NFL chances, such as former Penn State running back Stephfon Green, who was briefly with the Detroit Lions in 2012 before joining the CFL's Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Former Maryland starting linebacker Demetrius Hartsfield used the Baltimore NFL Regional Combine as a tool to show that the ACL he tore in a late-season game against Georgia Tech in 2012 has healed. Fourteen months after surgery, Hartsfield showed no ill effects in his knee during Sunday's workout.

"My dream is still alive," Hartsfield said. "I just look at it like it was a redshirt year for me. I look to be on an NFL team this year."

Taylor, naturally, drew plenty of attention due to his bloodline. With a body type similar to his famous brother's -- though shorter at 6-foot-2 1/4 -- Taylor said he has more work to do if he's going to achieve his goal.

"It's one of those things where it's 24/7-, 365-day-a-year job," Taylor said. "You have to have the mindset to do it. There are some people that want to do it but they'll go out and party and make mistakes. You're trying to separate yourself from thousands and thousands of other guys."

With the help of his legendary older brother, Taylor has been working with a personal trainer in South Florida. Not needing the financial assistance for training, he has yet to hire an agent, and instead has been taking his brother's advice as to what steps to take.

And that should only help. After all, that's insight from a 15-year NFL veteran.

"He's probably one of the best mentors you could ask for, especially when you're trying to play the same position as him," Taylor said. "I try to talk to him as much as possible, to pick his brain, even if it's on little stuff like the food I eat. As crazy as it is, it's a mind you want to pick all the time. I'm very lucky I have him as a mentor."

Follow Jason Butt on Twitter @JasonHButt.

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