Between the tears and the tackles, Jason Taylor played his final game in the NFL on Sunday. A 15 year career completed and in the books.
I find it strange to write a column about Taylor because I have never been a fan of the Dolphins. Yet, I find it hard not to be a fan of Taylor’s. He just played the game the way it should be.
Didn’t matter if he was a Dolphin, Redskin or a Jet. Taylor just played hard every down, every game, every season. Even in his final season, he just lined up and went after it. Not an easy thing to do considering the Dolphins weren’t playing for anything. No post season. No championship. Not even a number one overall pick.
Taylor was just the quintessential professional. He returned to Miami to retire a Dolphin. Plain and simple. You have to respect him for that. You even have to respect the Dolphins for having him back so he could leave on his on terms.
When the clock hit :00, his teammates hoisted him up on their shoulders and paraded him around Sun Life Stadium like a hero. The bonus was the Fins beat their most hated rival 19-17 and kept the Jets out of the playoffs. That wasn’t the reasons for the tears, just some of the cheers.
I don’t remember anyone in a Dolphin jersey being paraded around by his teammates. I do remember Don Shula getting that treatment after he became the all time winningest coach years ago.
There have been many exceptional players to wear the famous Fish on their heads. Marino, Griese, Czonka and Jason Taylor belongs right up there with the best of them. He belongs on the teams Ring of Honor. What lays ahead for him? That is up to him. He has flirted with the idea of Hollywood, business and I am sure there will be a network or two calling tomorrow looking for his services as a commentator.
Will Canton call? That remains to be seen. I think it will and when it does, I know the tears of today will be nothing compared to the acknowledgement of those shed knowing he played the game the way it should be played.
They will be shed knowing he left on his terms. In today’s day and age of players not knowing when to go (Bret Farve) it is a pleasure to see one leave on top of the shoulders teammates.