Time they say will eventually heal all wounds. To some extent that can be true. At some point during yesterday’s beating of the NY Jets, that time came and all of the sour feelings I harbored towards Jason Taylor over the years dissipated and I simply watched the last legend of the Miami Dolphins finish out a brilliant career. Then, as the clock ticked down to zero, I stood and applauded the decision of HC Todd Bowles to put him on the field for the victory formation.
Jason Taylor played 13 years of his 15 year career in Miami and despite his hiccup last year when he played for the Jets, he has been a “Miamian” since the day he was drafted out of Akron. Taylor’s contributions to the community are endless and it was so deserving to see him hoisted on the shoulders of his teammates and carried off the field. In that final offensive huddle, guard Vernon Carey asked Taylor for his cleats. After the game, handshakes and well wishes from the NY Jets continued and continued and continued.
His own teammates waiting to carry him to the locker room. Taylor expressed emotions that all athletes eventually face. That page turning life change that takes a person from the conclusion of one portion of their life and into the unknown of the next. On MiamiDolphins.com you can view his emotional and teary good-bye to his “brothers” in the locker room. You can also view his final post-game interview with reporters.
For a moment, as Jason Taylor took in all the atmosphere he could enjoy while still playing out his final game, it was evident that the Dolphins were losing a part of their history. As one local Miami reporter called it, the last great Miami Dolphins decision. Taylor’s reputation on and off the field has endeared him to fans and the only thing left now is the debate on his Hall of Fame credentials.
If you would have asked me a week ago if I would attend the HOF induction of Jason Taylor, I probably would have said no. After yesterday, watching his tearful good-bye, I don’t think I would miss it. I was hard on JT here on this blog last season and while I still maintain that the decision he made was a poor one, I have the right to be critical as a fan. I saw the Jason Taylor yesterday that I saw when I cheered his drafting way back when under Jimmy Johnson.
The Dolphins have lost Zach Thomas and Jason Taylor to NFL retirement in the last two seasons. While the team itself is poised to make strides with better coaching, it remains to be seen if there are any players on the team who will stand the test of time and become as endearing as those two. Taylor represents the last great Miami Dolphins player. His exit from the NFL and the team will be missed but it’s likely that he will not quietly fade into the background.
In the end, his day did not end with the fairy tale touchdown as it was called back under review, but the elation for both Jason Taylor and the fans who have followed him and cheered for him for more than a decade, was enough to remind us all just what kind of football Taylor has been and meant to this team. If only for those brief seconds of jubilation.
Good luck Mr. Taylor! Enjoy your life after football. Despite your disregard for morality last season, you have been a benchmark that others at your position will always be measured by. Thanks for the great memories!