It appears that, arguably the best defensive player in Miami Dolphins history, is about to hang up his cleats. Last night, stories began to break about Jason Taylor’s plan to retire at the end of the 2011 season. Taylor will play his final NFL game, at home against the New York Jets. What better way for JT to ride off into the sunset then by beating the Jets and crushing their playoff hopes?
Taylor will retire after playing 15 years in the NFL with 3 different teams (Dolphins, Jets, and Redskins). His heart has always been in Miami though. His pit stops in New York and Washington were just bumps in the road, as he always seemed destined to retire as a Dolphin. Going into Sunday, Taylor has 139.5 sacks, good for 6th best all time.
He was drafted by Jimmy Johnson and has been the Dolphins most recognizable player since he arrived. His charitable work off the field is just as impressive, if not more impressive, than his never-quit attitude on the field. Taylor has been a leader on as many Dolphins teams as I can remember. In the last few years, while his role has diminished, his voice in the locker room has not.
I’m surprised to see how many Dolphins fans are still angry at Jason for signing with the Jets in 2010. I’ve gotten over it, we all should. Jason was told by the Dolphins that they didn’t want him, so he needed to find another team that wanted his services. Sadly, it turned out to be the Jets, but you can’t blame JT for that…at least not anymore. He returned to Miami for the 3rd time in 2011 and has been playing well in his limited role. He has 7 sacks this season, second on the team only to Cameron Wake.
I’m sure for the next few seasons we’ll still see plenty of #99 jerseys at Sun Life Stadium. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw his #99 permanently installed into the Dolphins Ring of Honor at some point. Jason Taylor was, and is an icon in South Florida. Fans have loved him for years. The bigger question is, will Jason Taylor be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, OH? My vote would be yes, but I’m obviously biased. I think the 6th best sack artist in NFL history deserves a place in NFL immortality…don’t you?