In the summer of 2018, the Cleveland Browns (0-1) had a quarterback-only RV in the parking lot during training camp that was highlighted on HBO's "Hard Knocks." At the time, Taylor was tight-lipped about the space. That hasn’t changed.
“What was it like in the quarterback RV?” Taylor was asked, as the Texans (1-0) prepared to play his former team Sunday (1 p.m. ET, CBS).
“That was a sacred space,” Taylor said with a smile. “I can’t tell those stories.”
The four quarterbacks in that RV (and quarterback room) that summer were Taylor, No. 1 pick Baker Mayfield, Drew Stanton and Brogan Roback.
Although the Browns used their No. 1 pick on Mayfield, Taylor entered the season as the starter. Cleveland intended for Taylor to remain in that role, with hopes of easing Mayfield into the offense. But Taylor exited the third game of the season with a concussion and Mayfield took over. The Browns won the game, and Mayfield kept the job.
“People took Tyrod for granted,” Mayfield said. “He’s an extremely good leader. His work ethic alone, his routine and being the same guy every day for every single person in the building, it’s a tremendous way of showing his leadership. Obviously, he’s a great athlete and great quarterback. Everything he taught me, leading by example and doing different things, not that we lead the same way, but there are always different ways to lead.
“I’m very thankful to have stepped into a quarterback room with Tyrod ... to learn from. It’s something I’m obviously very grateful for.”
Stanton said although Mayfield was starting, Taylor continued to go to work every day, preparing as if he was the starter. Stanton said Taylor continued to be the first player in the building each day.
"The way that he talks and the way that he leads on an individual one-on-one basis is impressive, too," Stanton said.
At 29, Taylor was the third-oldest player on a fairly young team, and the veteran quarterback, who admits he was still growing as a leader at that time, said he had to figure out what his role on the team needed to be to help the franchise succeed. Although Stanton said Taylor wasn’t a big "rah-rah guy."
“Guys find different ways to motivate people and, especially as a quarterback, you’ve got to find a way to have that pull where you can bring people along with you,” Stanton said. “He has those things, those leadership qualities, even though he’s pretty soft-spoken. It appears he has all of those things that people gravitate towards just because of the way that he is, the way that he prepares.”
Although Taylor said he hasn’t followed Mayfield’s career closely since he left Cleveland after that 2018 season, he said he has “respect for Baker” and was impressed by Mayfield’s growth over the season they played together.
“He was thrown into that position in Week 3 after the Jets game, or during the Jets game,” Taylor said. “Just to see his growth throughout that year was definitely impressive, and to see him endure some of the stuff that came up throughout that year, with coach changes and different schemes. But he’d done a great job of handling it, and he’s done a great job for the team since then. I know they’re looking forward for him to have a big year this year.”
Now, Taylor returns to Cleveland to face his former team. While he insists the game is not centered around his return, he said he’s excited to go back on Sunday.
“Obviously, it didn’t end the way that I wanted it to end,” Taylor said of his time in Cleveland. “I grew as a person during that year, dealing with adversity, also becoming more of a vocal leader than I had before up until that time.
“It’s tough to remember or it’s tough to take away [much] from that year, but more important, I think it was more on the personal side than it was actually football.”