ROANOKE, Va. – 198 players were selected before legendary quarterback Tom Brady in the 2000 NFL Draft. Two of them, including linebacker Shannon Taylor, are from Roanoke.
“Not a lot of people get to do what I’ve done, and I’m very appreciative,” Taylor said.
Taylor starred at the University of Virginia before the San Diego Chargers selected him with the 184th pick that year. He said he learned about his selection from his friends before the Chargers gave him a call.
“I just saw my name go across the screen and my phone blew up with family and friends saying ‘Did you see that?’” Taylor remembered. “I saw ‘Taylor’ on the TV, and they called me about 30 minutes later.”
Taylor and Brady were both selected in the sixth round, but Brady was drafted with the 199th pick.
“He wasn’t the GOAT [greatest of all time] then,” Taylor said. “They drafted him on potential, and it happened to work out for the Patriots.”
Before he made it to the NFL as a linebacker, Taylor was a decorated quarterback at Patrick Henry High School. He is a member of the high school’s Hall of Fame.
“I beat Allen Iverson out as the first-team all-state quarterback my senior year,” Taylor said. “I wore number 94 with the Chargers because that’s the year I graduated from high school.”
Taylor also spent time with the Baltimore Ravens and the Jacksonville Jaguars before his retirement in 2003. He has been a coach at North Cross School for the past decade, and he said he’s motivated to inspire the next generation of athletes.
“I am a role model and the things that I do, they see. I just want to be positive,” Taylor said. “You can do anything if you put your mind to it.”
In addition to Taylor, fellow Roanoke native John St. Clair was selected before Tom Brady in the 2000 NFL Draft. St. Clair, who went to the St. Louis Rams with pick number 94, played at William Fleming High School and was teammates with Taylor at Virginia.