Jason Taylor Miami Dolphins & New York Jets & Washington Redskins
“I always had the fire burning inside to push myself and be the best…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.”
Defensive End Jason Taylor was selected in the third round, 73rd player overall, in the 1997 NFL Draft by the Miami Dolphins. Taylor was no stranger to sacking the quarterback as evidenced by his school-record 21 career quarterback takedowns at the University of Akron. That did not change at the pro level and by the time Taylor’s 15-year career was over, he had tallied 139.5 career sacks which ranked sixth in league annals at the time of his retirement.
Taylor earned a role as a starter early in his rookie season and tallied 5.0 sacks, 50 total tackles, two fumble recoveries and three passes defensed. He logged these numbers despite missing three games due to a fractured forearm. His dominant play helped pave the way for the first of five straight postseason berths for Miami.
Taylor quickly became the anchor of the Dolphins’ tough and aggressive defense. In 1998, he recorded nine sacks and a team-high four forced fumbles)., Taylor earned the first of six career Pro Bowl invitations after the 2000 season when he recorded 14.5 sacks along with 68 total tackles, an interception, four fumble recoveries, a forced fumble and five passes defensed. The effort earned Taylor team MVP honors and was the first of six seasons in which he logged double-digits in sacks.
Taylor, who led the league in sacks with 18.5 in 2002, enjoyed his finest season in 2006 when he was named the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year. That season, he terrorized offenses with 62 total tackles, a team-high 13.5 sacks, two interceptions returned for scores, 11 passes defensed, 10 forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries.
A three-time first-team All Pro (2000, 2002, 2006) recipient and a four-time All-AFC choice (2000, 2002, 2004, 2006), Taylor had brief stints with the Washington Redskins (2008) and New York Jets (2010).
Taylor was named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 2000s.