bchanakira2

Taylor Gentry – NFL player turned rugby player


Written by Benedict Chanakira (bchanakira2)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks on 26 Aug 2015 at 09:46
Tagged with : , , , , ,

Benedict caught up with former NFL running back Taylor Gentry for a chat.

Taylor, how is your time in South Africa?

One of the most amazing experiences of my life. It was special and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Who is Taylor Gentry?

I am a man of faith, I believe in the saying good things happen to good people. I love rugby, I love the contact, and live for the hits. In America when you have a big hit we call it “laying the wood”. I love the physicality. When I get over the line, I wanna (sic) hurt you. That’s what got me into the NFL when I was with the Kansas Chiefs and also when I played College football at my university. After my NFL football career was over I then found myself playing Rugby because I was not ready to play golf. My rugby career started in October of 2012 and I never looked back.

How did the Sharks get in contact with you?

I was meant to play in the National Rugby Football League and when the game against the Leicester Tigers was called off due to our league not having the game sanctioned by US Rugby . I signed an agreement with the guys that run the league; as the league only kicks off in 2016, and my agent spoke to many teams all over the world and when we contacted Union Sports they managed to get us in sync with the Sharks and they liked the idea and now I am here in South Africa.

What has been the biggest challenge moving from NFL to Rugby Union?

The biggest challenged has to be decision making. I mean in the NFL you have so many plays and when you get in on your play your job is to get involved and give 100% and the difference is in rugby you don’t need to get involved when every single phase and don’t need to be the playmaker all the time, you have to rely on your other teammates. You have to wait and when it’s your time to get the ball, or to make a hit, that’s what you have to do.

What has been your most memorable moment playing in the KZN Premier Division?

I was playing against Jaguars and one guy was running hard towards me, I was on defence and he came right into me. I then hit him, lifted him over my shoulder and carried him back 10 metres and the boys in the crowd began to chant USA! USA! USA! It was surreal and it gave me a pump. When I waked off, I was greeted with the same chant and while I thought it was my last game here, I will play my last one this week in the championship game. My agent will then talk to the Sharks and they will decide if they are keen on further developing me.

What has been your expectation since getting onto the long flight to Durban?

I expected to see lions, giraffes all over and maybe grab a few shots with a pride and stuff. *Chuckles* Funny thing is, the first night I stayed here, we left our apartment slide door open and the monkeys came into the house and took our food I was baffled, like what the heck but that was probably one of my best memories. The people in Durban have been the nicest I have met and they are such good people. Everyone is genuine and very kind.

What is your strongest rugby attribute ?

I have been playing blind side/open side flank here. I have been preferring the open side as it gives me the opportunity to use my strongest attribute. To hurt you and hit you so hard that you feel it. I am also a strong ball carrier and really make myself felt physically on an opponent.

Which current team mate would you say, if ship wrecked, you would like to find yourself stuck on an island with?

Dave McDuling ~ he speaks the best English *chuckles*

All the best Taylor! Cheers

Keep well man.



48 Comments

  • Thanks Benedict! So Taylor has moved from prop to flank?

  • Comment 1, posted at 26.08.15 09:50:18 by vanmartin Reply
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  • This guy got a man of the match the other day, so apparently not that bad after all! I wonder if we will keep him around?

    Great interview, as always.

  • Comment 2, posted at 26.08.15 09:52:05 by Seth101 Reply
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  • Great chance for him and glad to hear he’s enjoying it. Maybe that’s just the type of player that the Sharks needs (someone that likes to play rugby with out frills and bitching)!!!!!!!!
    Would love to see him play!

  • Comment 3, posted at 26.08.15 09:53:55 by JD Reply
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  • @vanmartin (Comment 1) : must say I do think it makes more sense.

  • Comment 4, posted at 26.08.15 09:54:57 by JD Reply
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  • @Seth101 (Comment 2) : well seems as if he’s really giving it all, maybe some players can learn a thing or two from him!!!!!!!!

  • Comment 5, posted at 26.08.15 09:55:59 by JD Reply
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  • Great to see him transitioning well! If he’s good enough I hope he stays.

  • Comment 6, posted at 26.08.15 09:57:24 by Dragnipur Reply
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  • @vanmartin (Comment 1) : He is def more built like a flank than a prop. Good move on Saders behalf playing him at blindside- minimal decision making and just gets to tackle and carry the ball. Smart man that Ronnie Uys

  • Comment 7, posted at 26.08.15 10:03:54 by SheldonK Reply

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  • @Dragnipur (Comment 6) : I think the Sharks should keep him in the training squad even if he does not play any Currie cup games.
    He sounds like the type of positive player that can only be good for squad moral and who knows maybe some of it can even rub off on some of the other players. Secondly USA is a huge market and has huge player potential and this could be massive PR boost for the Sharks in USA.

  • Comment 8, posted at 26.08.15 10:07:09 by JD Reply
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  • @SheldonK (Comment 7) : did you see him play?

  • Comment 9, posted at 26.08.15 10:09:32 by JD Reply
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  • Thanks Benedict, keep them coming.

  • Comment 10, posted at 26.08.15 10:18:46 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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  • Who is Taylor Gentry?

    I am a man of faith, I wanna (sic) hurt you, To hurt you and hit you so hard that you feel it.
    I am a man of faith. :twisted:

  • Comment 11, posted at 26.08.15 10:21:43 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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  • Gentry – is 100xs better PR than – wil-viri-vlagman-passer!

  • Comment 12, posted at 26.08.15 10:29:45 by The Brand Reply

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  • Lekker interview BC – thanks !

  • Comment 13, posted at 26.08.15 10:31:23 by The Brand Reply

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  • @JD (Comment 9) : I havnt as yet, just heard from guys. If he gets a run in the Murray Cup final vs Rovers this weekend i will see.

  • Comment 14, posted at 26.08.15 10:39:45 by SheldonK Reply

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  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 11) : well at least he’s honest and does not fear contact!!!!!!!

  • Comment 15, posted at 26.08.15 10:54:21 by JD Reply
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  • @SheldonK (Comment 14) : geez would have loved to see him play. Sounds as if he could make it if he gets enough time to adapt.

  • Comment 16, posted at 26.08.15 10:56:11 by JD Reply
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  • @JD (Comment 15) : Yes, Brutally honest.

  • Comment 17, posted at 26.08.15 11:25:10 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 17) : or just brutal and honest!!! :twisted:

  • Comment 18, posted at 26.08.15 11:46:39 by JD Reply
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  • Thanks Benedict! I always enjoy your interview articles. Keep them coming.

  • Comment 19, posted at 26.08.15 12:00:23 by war1 Reply
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  • Great interview as usual.

    Good luck Taylor!

  • Comment 20, posted at 26.08.15 12:07:29 by Big Fish Reply
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  • Sounds like someone I would like in my team. The attitude.

  • Comment 21, posted at 26.08.15 12:09:29 by JarsonX Reply
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  • hehehe, great interview. Sounds like he wishes he was a linebacker rather than a running back in gridiron. Clearly he relishes hard tackles more than ball carrying, although I am sure he is very good with ball in hand if he played for the Kansas City Chiefs (my favourite NFL team).

  • Comment 22, posted at 26.08.15 14:37:32 by Dancing Bear Reply
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  • @Dancing Bear (Comment 22) : Ah there it is, captained special teams (Kickoffs, punts, etc) at his University, North Carolina State, which defensively is most similar to Rugby. Never played a game in the NFL, was undrafted out of University, Chiefs picked him up, but he never trained with them and failed the physical and was released in 2012. He was not recruited heavily out of high school, but by the end of his first season, he was the starting fullback at the Division 1 University, and held that position for the remainder of his 4 year University career. He must be around 25 now.

  • Comment 23, posted at 26.08.15 14:45:07 by Dancing Bear Reply
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  • Here you go, get to know perhaps the newest Shark…..

  • Comment 24, posted at 26.08.15 14:54:02 by Dancing Bear Reply
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  • Hmmmm he has a brother who also excelled on Special Teams for North Carolina State. Maybe he wants to play Rugby too? :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

  • Comment 25, posted at 26.08.15 14:57:29 by Dancing Bear Reply
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  • @Dancing Bear (Comment 23) : How does one fail a physical in the NFL?

  • Comment 26, posted at 26.08.15 15:02:51 by Ben Reply
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  • @Ben (Comment 26) : concussion

  • Comment 27, posted at 26.08.15 15:04:50 by The hound Reply
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  • @Ben (Comment 26) : I would guess he was carrying an injury, and since he was not drafted, and there on a trial basis, he was not able to train and they could not evaluate him. A doctor performs a physical examination and reports whether the player is capable of training, if he is not capable of training, he fails the physical, they can release him.

  • Comment 28, posted at 26.08.15 15:06:25 by Dancing Bear Reply
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  • @Dancing Bear (Comment 28) : Makes sense, thanks.

  • Comment 29, posted at 26.08.15 15:07:13 by Ben Reply
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  • @The hound (Comment 27) : This was preseason training, so he never had the opportunity to get a concussion since he did not train.

  • Comment 30, posted at 26.08.15 15:07:35 by Dancing Bear Reply
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  • @Dancing Bear (Comment 30) : Maybe he picked up a concussion from a bar brawl. :)

  • Comment 31, posted at 26.08.15 15:10:23 by Ben Reply
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  • The problem with gridiron is that once these guys are no longer eligible to play for their university, and they are not chosen for a NFL team, there is little opportunity to continue to play football, there is no club football, only option is a semi-professional league (very small), Canadian football or the Euro league. So if a player like him has an unfortunate injury and never gets the chance to actually even try out, it is difficult to go play at a lower level due to limited opportunities, so the chances of coming back the following season and impressing is extremely unlikely. Which is why I am sure he chose Rugby.

  • Comment 32, posted at 26.08.15 15:12:56 by Dancing Bear Reply
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  • @Ben (Comment 31) : Something tells me that both he and his brother are not drinkers. He put on 25 KGs in a few months as an 18 year old. I’m guessing he spent every free moment in the gym.

  • Comment 33, posted at 26.08.15 15:15:15 by Dancing Bear Reply
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  • @Dancing Bear (Comment 32) : It sucks how quickly a injury or bad spell in football can leave you out in the cold if you don’t come with a larger than life reputation (Tim Tebow) or you aren’t an established player on an NFL team with a season or two behind you.

  • Comment 34, posted at 26.08.15 15:33:55 by vanmartin Reply
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  • @Dancing Bear (Comment 32) :

    Rugby in SA is not too dissimilar.
    If you didnt come through the Craven Week system there’s very little chance you can make a career as a pro rugby player.

    When i was at Maties the joke was that it wasnt the best players that ended up playing for WP, it was those that managed to stay injury-free.
    Once you got injured they moved to the next guy on the list.
    Maties, at the time, had 2,500 registered players.

  • Comment 35, posted at 26.08.15 15:37:57 by VinChainSaw Reply
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  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 35) : No university in the US, no matter how large (some number in the tens of thousands) has more than 100 students actually playing football.

  • Comment 36, posted at 26.08.15 15:45:48 by Dancing Bear Reply
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  • There are magnitudes more US university students that play soccer than play football.

  • Comment 37, posted at 26.08.15 15:48:59 by Dancing Bear Reply
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  • Marcel Coetzee never played at Craven week or in any of the other provincial age group contests ,but he was a Springbok at 21

  • Comment 38, posted at 26.08.15 15:53:45 by The hound Reply
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  • @The hound (Comment 38) : Yeah, but the sun won’t rise until Marcell Coetzee wakes up.

  • Comment 39, posted at 26.08.15 15:55:29 by Dancing Bear Reply
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  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 35) : All that talent at their disposal and the W.P and Stormers won a paltry one Currie Cup in 12 years.

  • Comment 40, posted at 26.08.15 15:56:04 by The hound Reply
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  • @Dancing Bear (Comment 24) : some of those tackles looks as if they came out of the “Butch James Handbook of Tackling”.

  • Comment 41, posted at 26.08.15 16:23:59 by JD Reply
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  • @The hound (Comment 40) : yes but remember the unmentionalble one will change all that……

  • Comment 42, posted at 26.08.15 16:24:47 by JD Reply
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  • @JD (Comment 42) : What will he change? He won’t play Currie Cup because he will be with the Boks or most likely injured. :twisted:

  • Comment 43, posted at 26.08.15 17:04:45 by Ben Reply
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  • Spoken like a true pro,the attitude,the mindset and he won’t fumble or knock on like a true Shark,bring him on,only problem will be like all great imports to the Sharks ,local bias for some second rater will count against him

  • Comment 44, posted at 26.08.15 17:05:44 by benji Reply
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  • @The hound (Comment 40) :

    You’re like a broken record.

  • Comment 45, posted at 26.08.15 17:15:51 by VinChainSaw Reply
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  • @Dancing Bear (Comment 36) :

    That not even enough for two teams!
    So each uni only has one team and a few reserves?
    It really sounds like a spectator sport only.

  • Comment 46, posted at 26.08.15 17:18:23 by VinChainSaw Reply
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  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 46) : That is exactly right, it is absolutely nothing more than a spectator sport. Great example, when the University of Michigan plays at home, their stadium becomes the 4th largest city in Michigan, filling to capacity with over 100,000 spectators, while the University’s football roster is just 65 players.

  • Comment 47, posted at 26.08.15 19:08:57 by Dancing Bear Reply
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  • @Dancing Bear (Comment 47) : Equipment costs are also prohibitive, costing between $500 and $1000 just to kit out a single player.

  • Comment 48, posted at 26.08.15 19:09:50 by Dancing Bear Reply
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