Devin Taylor would like to say thank you.
The former Beaufort High School and South Carolina football standout is hosting an appreciation event June 22 at Beaufort Town Center. Taylor was selected by the Detroit Lions in the fourth round of April's NFL draft. He wants his community to know it is appreciated before he seriously begins preparing for his rookie season, business manager Jay Williams said.
"It's showing everybody he still cares about Beaufort, and he'll always be there," Williams said. "He didn't make this dream on his own."
The event, from noon until 4 p.m., is free and includes food, face painting, a bouncy house and other activities.
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Taylor also plans to organize a youth football camp, with hopes of it becoming an annual event.
The defensive end just completed his first minicamp with the Lions and is trying to work into a defensive end rotation that includes first-round pick Ziggy Ansah.
"Everything's been going really good," Williams said. "They're talking about him getting on the field early and often, if not starting."
Taylor will return to Virginia before the season to continue working with mentor Bruce Smith, the hall-of-fame defensive end and the NFL's all-time sacks leader. The rookie Taylor has also arranged to meet with former Lions and Los Angeles Rams great Roger Brown, a defensive tackle who made six consecutive Pro Bowls.
Taylor and Brown will meet at Brown's restaurant to talk about what to expect from Detroit and professional football.