Honor the Heroes of the Game, Preserve Its History, Promote Its Values & Celebrate Excellence Everywhere
"To be a total football player, you’ve got to play every play, and I like to play every play.”
(Arizona State)...6'3'', 210...Charles Robert Taylor. . .At retirement, all-time leading receiver with 649 catches for 9,110 yards, 79 TDs. . .Other career stats: 10,803 combined net yards, 90 TDs, 540 points. . .No. 1 draft pick, 1964. . . Rookie of Year running back, 1964. . . Shifted to split end, 1966. . . NFL receiving champion, 1966, 1967. . .Had 50 or more catches seven seasons. . .All NFL once, second-team All-NFL five times. . .Played in eight Pro Bowls. . .Born September 28, 1941, in Grand Prairie, Texas.
Charley Taylor's pass receiving credentials accumulated in 13 seasons (1964-1977) with the Washington Redskins are legendary. His 649 receptions for 9,110 yards and 79 touchdowns rank him among the game’s elite.
He led the National Football League in receiving in both 1966 and 1967, his first two years as a wide receiver, and caught more than 50 passes in a record-tying seven campaigns. With 1,488 yards rushing and a smattering of kick return yardage, he amassed 10,803 combined net yards to also rank among the best in that category. With 11 touchdowns rushing and 79 on receptions, Charley scored 540 points in his career.
Taylor’s pro football future was assured from his first day in camp in 1964 as a No. 1 draft choice from Arizona State. The 6-3, 210-pounder won Rookie of the Year acclaim as a running back and became the first rookie in 20 years to finish in the NFL's Top 10 in both rushing (sixth with 755 yards) and receiving (eight with 53 catches for 814 yards). His 53 receptions were a record for running backs at that time.
Although still rated as a premier ball carrier, Taylor was switched to split end in the seventh game of his third season in 1966. He wound up that year as the NFL receiving champion with 72 receptions. Charley was a gold-karat fixture at that position for the next nine seasons through 1975.
He sat out the entire 1976 campaign with injuries, then returned for a final shot in 1977. Taylor was an All-Western Athletic Conference halfback at Arizona State. Following his senior season, he played in the East-West Shrine Game, the Hula Bowl, the All-American Bowl and the College All-Star Game. As a Redskin, he earned first- or second-team All-NFL honors six times and was selected to play in eight Pro Bowls.
Charley Taylor Enshrinement Speech 1984
Presenter: Tom Skinner
Thank you very much. It is a privilege to have the opportunity this afternoon to present the greatest wide receiver in modern times that played professional football. God has truly smiled on Charley Taylor. He was born on Sept. 28, 1941 in Grand Prairie, Texas, and became the leading all-time pass receiver in professional football history with 649 catches. It was my privilege to be present at the game when he broke the all-time record. Our relationship together has spanned more than 14 years. In his professional football career, Charley Taylor has netted more than 10,000 yards, scored more than 70 touchdowns - 79 to be exact. In 1964, Charley Taylor was the Washington Redskins' No. 1 draft choice. In that same year, he was named Rookie of the Year as a halfback and interesting enough, Charley Taylor entered the NFL has a halfback. His coach was faced with a tremendous dilemma because of his skills, his great flexibility, his speed. There was much debate whether Charley should be a defensive back, whether he should be a wide receiver, whether he should be a halfback.
It is amazing with a history of his career, scoring more than 79 touchdowns and running more than 10,000 yards, that he did this while being teamed with some of the greatest wide receivers who ever played the game. Sitting at the dias is one of those men, Mr. Bobby Mitchell, who teamed with Charlie Taylor for three seasons. Bobby Mitchell's pass reception was more than 521 yards. Roy Jefferson played on the same team with Charley Taylor from more than five seasons. Roy Jefferson caught more than 421 passes. Jerry Smith played on the same team for more than eight seasons. He got more than 421 passes and so to have been teamed with these great wide receivers and to emerge as the all-time pass catcher says something about the skills, the versatility and independence of this man, Charley Taylor.
But beyond his career persistence, beyond what he accomplished on the field, was a man who taught all of us who were exposed to him something very important. He taught us character. He taught us what it meant to dig deep into oneself in order to move up to one’s potential. Charley Taylor taught us humility. To this day, Charley does not know how great he really is. He did not know while he played how great he really was. He always played down his achievements. He always played down those glorious moments that others would boost about and others would seek to believe in. Charley Taylor will always be setting new goals, always looking to the future. He never intentionally sought to be recognized. One of the great injustices perhaps throughout his entire playing career is that he never received the kind of recognition and the kind of publicity in this society he so richly deserved. And while others would bring it up, Charley would always put it aside because he was convinced that he had goals to achieve.
There were things he had to accomplish. He was a humble man who never, never gloried in what he had accomplished. Never boosted, never showed signs of conceit or arrogance. Charley Taylor showed his endurance. Throughout his career, from time to time, he was plagued with injury. If you look at his statistics, you will think he played every game of every season, but there were times when Charley Taylor sat out a whole season. There were other times when he sat out half a season. There were other times when he was hobbled with injury, but he never complained, and if Charley Taylor missed a game, he missed it because it was totally and physically impossible to be there because he loved so much what he did. Charley Taylor endured. Charley Taylor would always come back. You could never keep him down. Someone wrote in the scripture many years ago that the race is won not by the swift but to those who endure to the end. Charley Taylor ran his race with patience, and he endured. He always came back; he always fought back. He refused to be counted out. Charley Taylor taught us leadership. Charley was never appointed a leader, but he was the leader. He was always motivating, always pushing people, always making sure that his teammates were never down, always are oozing people up, always saying, "We will get the next one." The next one. That leadership ability, that ability to motivate people to move from one point to another, that ability to inspire people to achieve things that they did not themselves believe capable themselves, Charlie Taylor could push them to and motivate them to.
Charley Taylor was what he preached. Whatever he taught and whatever he said, he personified it in his own life. Charley Taylor taught us determination. It is amazing that he was overlooked by every major college and university in this country as a high school student, but he was determined. And thus after entering Arizona State, he became the No. 1 draft choice in the NFL. Charley Taylor was always convinced that he could do more, he could achieve more, and he showed us what it would look like to have a disciplined mind. A determined mind that refused to give up. Charley Taylor was rated by a number of players in the NFL during his career as one of the most underrated players to ever play the game.
Charley Taylor also accepted into his life entities of other people. There are those that are here today and those that could not be here who have made great influences on Charley's life and whose lives Charley has influenced. There were characters. There were strong men around him, people like Brig Owens, people like Kenney Houston and a man who is deceased, but if were alive, would love to be here this moment, Hal McLinton, and there were others that underrated one another. Charley Taylor was a leader and is a leader among men. He is a husband. Charley Taylor exemplifies what is meant to be committed to a woman in marriage. He exemplifies what it is meant to be a father. And I would say to his wife, Patricia, to his son, Charles, to this daughters, Elizabeth and Erica: You can be tremendously proud that you have the opportunity to live with, to love and be loved by one of the greatest men whoever played the game of professional football. And Charley Taylor would enter the end zone more than 79 times in his career. He would enter the end zone with a touchdown and lift his hands high. And he was once asked, ''Charley why do you lift your hands when you enter the end zone?'' And Charley would say, ''It is simply a statement to the crowd, a statement to the world, and the statement is that I rest my case.''
Today, we are here to enshrine a man who has ultimately and finally rests his case. He is here. We immortalize him today as one of the greatest wide receivers and greatest men to play the game of football. Someone asked Charley Taylor some years ago, "What do you think about becoming a Hall of Famer?" Charley said, "I think it would really be nice. You know years go on and people have a way of forgetting you. In fact, there are some people who would not even be convinced that you ever even played the game of football. But to be in the Hall of Fame is to have your... name in the record book, to be able to say that I was there." Well, Charley Taylor, your name is more than just in the record book today. Your name is now immortalized for all time and for all eternity, but you not only played this game, but Charley Taylor played it well, played it best and we honor him today by immortalizing him for all time. We come today to say to Charley Taylor: Your name is in the record book. Your case has been rested. You are the best. We recognize it.
Thank you, Tom. Walking those 10 steps across is a humbling experience for me. I've only experienced that once before, and that was when I asked my mother-in-law for Patricia's hand in marriage, I was pretty humble that day also. In the past six months, I have had a lot of time to reflect back on my football career, and what comes in my mind and going back through the years is it's a wonder I even survived my first major injury being a halfback at Arizona State. I kind of wonder when recovering from a broken neck that I would definitely be something great in the world of football. I wasn't really sure. It took a lot of finesse from my parents and all my friends to help me continue to play the game of football. But as it turned out, I did continue in the NFL, which I think is the best and greatest game in America.
It is kind of hard to say how great you were when you play a team sport. I can only accept this award and this induction and enshrinement and bringing those great teammates of mine who, in my estimation, made me what I am today. That is Bobby Mitchell and Brig Owens, all my great coaches, the great Vince Lombardi and the guy who actually brought me to the league, Bill McFee. And I want to say those guys: Without you, I probably would be just a straggly, little country boy, and I thank all of you for being part of my life.
I would also like to thank my wife, Pat, because she knows pro football is a draining profession. There were times when I had to be gone for six months at a time and never there with the kids, and she had to be both a mother and father, and I always thank my kids for tolerating me not being there for PTA meetings or Little League games. I think you have done a good job there. And I also want to thank my peers who are behind me. They certainly are a great family, and as Bill Dudley put it, you are now among the all-time pros. Herb, I thank you and my peers for allowing me to become my own peer. Thank you.
You know, the great game of professional football would not be what it is today if it wouldn't be for you great fans out there. And over 13 years with the Washington Redskins -- luckily, I spent the whole 13 years in Washington -- I would like to say that I had some of the greatest and most moral support that one player could have in a lifetime, and I had it in Washington. I would like to thank you for spending that 13 years with me. You made it a pleasure to be in Washington.
To turn and walk in those great doors behind me there, I know there is a God. I know there is a God, and it was something that I was reaching for I guess the second year in the NFL. I wanted to be remembered as Tom stated. Tom, I want to thank you again for taking the time to present me in being so common. You are a great fellow, a great friend, and I love you always. And I would just like to say to walk in the great door behind me will be just a start of a new life for Charlie Taylor, but it doesn't stop there, I will pick up my burdens and keep going because I have a great purpose in mind, and I just can't stop here. I'm very honored today. To the Selection Committee, I want to thank you, and my wife again, Pat, who is a lovely person and I want to thank all the fans across America for being here and sharing this moment with me. And I think America is the greatest place in the world. Thank God for you, thank God for me, thank God for football. Thank you.