Class of 2017 Enshrinee
After starring as a two-sport athlete in football and basketball at the University of Akron, Taylor was selected in the third round (73rd overall) of the 1997 NFL Draft by the Miami Dolphins. Taylor is the first former University of Akron football player to be enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He joins Walter Jones and Orlando Pace as just the third player from the 1997 NFL Draft Class to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
On August 31, 1997, Taylor recorded his first NFL sack when he took downIndianapolis Colts quarterback Jim Harbaugh in his first career NFL game. Taylor led the league in sacks in 2002 with 18.5 and compiled 139.5 sacks over his 15-year career with the Miami Dolphins, Washington Redskins, and New York Jets which ranks sixth in NFL history. His 131 sacks as a member of the Dolphins are the most in franchise history.
Taylor sacked 70 different quarterbacks in his 15 NFL seasons. On October 7, 2001, he recorded his first sack on New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in a 30-10 Dolphins win in Miami. Taylor went on to sack Brady 10.5 times, the most he had against a single quarterback during his career.
On November 1, 2009, Taylor rewrote the NFL record books when he recovered a fumble by New York Jets running back Shonn Greene and returned it 48 yards for a touchdown in a 30-25 Dolphins victory. The scoop and score was the sixth in Taylor’s career, surpassing the previous mark of five held by Falcons linebacker Jessie Tuggle.
In week eight of the 2003 season against the San Diego Chargers on Monday Night Football, Taylor tacked Damion McIntosh in the end zone for his first-career NFL safety. The Dolphins went on to win the game 26-10. Taylor recorded one more safety as a member of the Dolphins in 2005 and his final one in 2010 as a member of the New York Jets. His three career safeties tie for the second-most in NFL history.
“He has been an outstanding ambassador for his sport, for the Dolphins, and for all of South Florida. His accomplishments on the field made him one of the greatest players in Dolphins history, but his enduring example as a role model to so many people adds a distinctive luster to that legacy.”
-Stephen Ross, Miami Dolphins owner
"Jason caught my eye when he was outstanding in the Senior Bowl. A lot of teams thought he was undersized and that's why we were able to get him in the 3rd round...little did any of us realize just how great a player he would become.”
-Jimmy Johnson, Taylor’s enshrinement presenter and Miami Dolphins head coach from 1996-1999
“I never saw anyone disrupt an offense like Jason, and I never saw anyone more competitive. He was a great teammate who demanded the most out of everyone he played with and made each of them a better player. That’s truly the mark of a Hall of Famer.”
-Zach Thomas, Taylor’s teammate with the Miami Dolphins from 1997-2007
“The games against Jason are some of my most (well, maybe least) memorable. He is one of the greatest opponents I’ve ever faced, having had the “pleasure” of looking across the line and seeing him on the opposite side of the ball, not once, but twice each season for a decade. While I entered the league with a healthy respect for Jason and the incredibly talented Miami defense he led, my admiration for him as a player and a person only continued to grow with each play; each game; each season.”
-Tom Brady, New England Patriots quarterback
“I always had the fire burning inside to push myself and be the best. Sometimes I frustrate myself, and that can be detrimental to me but that is the way I’ve always been. At the end of the day, you have to have it inside of you. If you don’t have it inside of you, then no one can push you further than you push yourself.”
-Jason Taylor, Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2017
“It was just demoralizing as an offensive player whenever he'd get the sack, then the strip, the recovery, and then you had to worry about him running like a deer to the end zone after that. It was like he could hit the trifecta on any play. But that was the threat he brought to every game.”
-Jonathan Ogden, Pro Football Hall of Fame, Class of 2013
“Jason Taylor was a one-of-a-kind defensive player. We played against him in the AFC East my first four years. I saw him twice a year and he was a guy that we truly game-planned for because we learned if we didn't, he made you pay.”
-Peyton Manning, former two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback
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