Redskins defensive back DeAngelo Hall has known Tyrod Taylor since the Bills quarterback was in high school.
They’re from neighboring towns in the Tidewater region of Virginia. They both played at Virginia Tech. They even exchanged text messages a few days ago.
But that friendship will get put aside when Hall’s Redskins host Taylor’s Bills on Sunday in a game that has enormous playoff implications for the home team.
“Ty is a great, great kid. I love him to death. He’s like a little brother to me,” said Hall, who is six years older than Taylor, 26. "…I’m probably one of his biggest fans. But I’m going to be out there trying to pick him off and knock his head off, too. It’s going to be fun, because I’ve never played against him, obviously.”
Hall said he was introduced to Taylor when Taylor was a rising star Hampton (Va.) High School. Hall immediately knew that Taylor would make a living playing football.
“Down in that area you always know the next hot, hot star,” Hall said. “Whether it was Ty, Percy [Harvin], E.J. Manuel, any of those guys who kinda came out a couple of years after all of us. You always know those guys.”
Hall added: “There’s only a handful of high schools that really produce these guys, these athletes. …Somebody introduced me to [Taylor] and told me how good he was and I got a chance to watch him play and I was like, ‘Man, this kid is good.’ He ended up going to Virginia Tech and I kept following him, kept talking to him and he just became one of the fellas.”
It’s been a year of big changes for both Hall and Taylor.
Hall has bounced back from Achilles and toe injuries and is now transitioning from corner to safety, a move that could extend his career by a few years. Meanwhile, Taylor, who backed up Joe Flacco for four seasons in Baltimore, is now a starter for the first time in his career and boasts the fifth-best passer rating in the league behind Russell Wilson, Carson Palmer, Andy Dalton and Tom Brady.
As much as Hall wants to get an interception, it won't be easy. Taylor has one of the best touchdown to interception ratios in the league, having toss 18 touchdowns and just five interceptions.
“We were talking yesterday, just texting,” Hall said. “He was like, ‘Man, it’s crazy, I’m about to play against you.’ I was like, ‘Yeah, it’s kinda crazy.’ He was like, ‘I can remember watching you in high school.’ And I was like, ‘I can remember rooting for you at Virginia Tech, and now I get a chance to go against you.’ But that’s the game. That’s the game, man.”