BERKELEY, CA - OCTOBER 03: Head coach Pete Carroll of the USC Trojans talks with Taylor Mays #2 against the California Golden Bears at Memorial Stadium on October 3, 2009 in Berkeley, California. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Pete Carroll;Taylor Mays
Back during the NFL Draft in April, freshly-picked San Francisco 49ers safety Taylor Mays had choice words for his former USC coach Pete Carroll. Carroll had selected a safety other than Taylor Mays with the No. 14 overall pick, causing Taylor Mays to fall to the 49ers in the second round.
"I've probably got the biggest chip on my shoulder out of anybody in the draft," Mays told the Sacramento Bee, the day he was drafted. "I felt (Carroll) told me the complete opposite of the actions that he took, which was definitely - it was alarming."
Guess which coach Mays will face in his professional debut.
Taylor Mays has kept quiet on his general resentment towards Pete Carroll since that draft day interview. The most we've seen or heard from Mays was his goal-line interception in the preseason win over the Chargers.
But if Mays is to have a game-changing impact Sunday, it would probably have to occur on special teams. "He's a work in progress," Coach Mike Singletary admitted to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer on a conference call. Mays is currently a backup safety.
But Singletary admires his work in progress. "He's been a blessing, he's a guy that studies really hard and works really hard and has really taken to the coaching and just really has done everything that we have asked him to do," the coach said of Mays. "So he just continues to get better."
And he'll get his shots at Pete Carroll yet.
Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who thinks Mays is a historically pretty good last name for a guy playing his home games at Candlestick Park.