On Friday former Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Taylor Gabriel, 30, announced his retirement from the NFL via Twitter and Instagram, sharing a picture of himself lounging in a pool on a float.
— Taylor Gabriel (@TGdadon1) April 10, 2021
The accompanying message [on IG] highlights his underdog status and how he developed into a fan favorite in both Atlanta and Chicago, the last two stops in his playing career. “Undrafted Free Agent Tryout #7Years. Thanks to all my fans and supporters love y’all.”
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Taylor Gabriel Earned the Nickname ‘Turbo’ in Atlanta
Certainly Taylor Gabriel accomplished more in the NFL than anyone had a right to expect. He entered the league in the spring of 2014, signing with the Cleveland Browns as an undrafted free agent out of Abilene Christian (which started the process of becoming a Division I program while Gabriel was in school). At just 5-foot-7 and 170 pounds, the odds were decidedly against him making the roster—even the roster of a losing team like the Browns.
Yet he appeared in 29 games for Cleveland over two seasons (six starts) and caught 64 passes for 862 yards and a touchdown. But it wasn’t until the Falcons claimed him off waivers and he came to Atlanta that he reached the pinnacle of his NFL success.
In 2016 he had a breakout year for the Falcons, catching 35 passes for 579 yards and six touchdowns while averaging a whopping 11.6 yards per target (and an even more incredible 42.7 yards per touchdown reception). He went on to catch nine more passes for 171 yards in the postseason that year—and ran an unforgettable route in the Super Bowl, one that made New England Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler look downright silly.
Along the way he earned the fan-given nickname ‘Turbo Taylor’ after the Falcons crowdsourced nickname ideas in the fall of 2016.
Over the course of two years with the Falcons, ‘Turbo’ caught a total of 68 passes for 957 yards and seven touchdowns. Then he moved on to the Chicago Bears, where he was even more productive. In just 25 games (18 starts) he contributed 96 receptions for 1,041 yards and six touchdowns while making his share of highlight-reel plays, including a particularly memorable diving catch. But he missed most of the second half of the 2019 season after suffering multiple concussions that year.
Gabriel Opted Out of the 2020 Season
Finally he decided not to play last season because of the COVID-19 pandemic, explaining his decision in early September via tweet.
I opted to not play this year with covid I’ve had offers to play but chose my families safety stay safe man #Godwilling
— Taylor Gabriel (@TGdadon1) September 3, 2020
As such, he finishes his 83-game NFL career (31 starts) with 228 receptions for 2,860 yards and 14 touchdowns, and can now spend more time playing golf, which has apparently become a pretty serious hobby in the past few years.
But for a trip down memory lane, his Falcons highlight reel can be found below:
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