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Six-time Pro Bowler Jason Taylor is back with the Miami Dolphins: Fan’s take
For some Miami Dolphins fans the news Jason Taylor was returning to the fold wasn't what they wanted to hear. For them, when the 6-time Pro Bowler and 5-time All-Pro selection donned the uniform of the New York Jets last year he forever lost their admiration and respect.
Don't count me among them.
To me, Taylor will forever be a member of the Miami Dolphins, and I was ecstatic to hear he would once more be putting on the aqua and coral to play for the South Florida squad; hopefully finishing out his career with the team.
Although I'd hoped it might happen once some rumors began to surface it was a possibility, because of the level of animosity between Taylorand some team officials during the offseason last year, I felt the rumors might just be wishful thinking.
Color me pleasantly surprised to hear the news; probably as shocked as Taylor was himself when he received the text from general manager Jeff Ireland extending the offer to return.
"I was surprised," Taylor said about the text. "I didn't expect it. I didn't think the Dolphins would be one of those teams [to call] … Things happen for a reason."
That they do, Jason, and the reason—as far as I can see—is to get you back where you belong; in a Dolphins uniform hunting down opposing quarterbacks and generally producing mayhem in the backfields of Miami's enemies.
One of those enemies, the Jets, will probably be regretting they allowed Taylor to get away and return to the team he spent most of his career with; and although Taylor will be getting limited playing time because of his age, I'm sure when Miami plays New York he'll be in there a number of times going after Mark Sanchez(notes).
No one has to tell the two-time AFC Defensive Player of the Year and 2006 AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year his role with the Dolphins will be significantly different than it was even during his last stint with Miami two years ago. He knows it, and understands it.
"I'm here to be a reserve," Taylor said. "I understand how old I am. I've got a lot of miles. I'm here to help scratch where it itches, help whatever spot I can play to help this team be successful. It's not about playing time or generating stats, this is about winning football games."
To true Dolphins fans that is music to their ears, for while Miami's offense has some question marks, their defense seems pretty solid; and with the addition of Taylor it can only get better.
While I may not be all that enthusiastic about the Dolphins chances to shine under coach Tony Sparano and new offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, I have no doubt defensive coordinator Mike Nolan will have Miami's defense right there in the mix as one of the best in the NFL, and it will be exciting to see Taylor back as the No. 3 outside linebacker hounding opposing offenses.
Over his 12-year career (10 of them with Miami), Taylor has been one of the most-feared pass-rushers in NFL history, totaling 132.5 sacks over that span to tie him at No. 8 with former New York Giants' linebacker Lawrence Taylor and former San Diego Chargers' defensive end Leslie O'Neal on the all-time sacks list.
With just five-and-a-half more sacks he will surpass both former Minnesota Vikings' defensive tackle John Randle and former Chicago Bears' defensive end Richard Dent on the list, and be heading for the No. 5 spot held by retired New York Giants' defensive end Michael Strahan.
A majority of the sacks Taylor has amassed came when he was teamed with his brother-in-law, Zach Thomas(notes), one of the most beloved former members of the Dolphins of all-time, and a tremendous 7-time Pro Bowl selection himself.
Between them, they comprised the heart and soul of some of the best Miami defenses ever between 1999-2007, and it was a truly sad day when 'Phins fans watched them leave the team.
Now one of them is back, and I can't wait to see him out there once again proudly representing the team I love wearing the No. 99 aqua jersey he made famous, and which I'm sure he'll be wearing when he's inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame someday.
I know there are those who aren't as thrilled as I am because they feel he betrayed them when he went to the division-rival New York Jets, and at the time I felt a little betrayed myself.
However, now it's time to put all that in the past and welcome Jason home. He's right where he belongs, and hopefully he'll never leave again till he hangs up his cleats for good; and even then I'll be wanting him working for the organization in some capacity as a coach or something.
Hut, hut, hike!
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Read more by Daniel Barber aka Hotnuke at TFS Sports.
*Daniel Barber has been a fan of all Miami teams since he was a child or since their inception having been born right above Miami.
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