Jason Taylor (American football)

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Jason Taylor
refer to caption
Taylor with the Dolphins in 2009
No. 99, 55
Position: Defensive end, linebacker
Personal information
Date of birth: (1974-09-01) September 1, 1974 (age 42)
Place of birth: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Height: 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)
Weight: 244 lb (111 kg)
Career information
High school: Pittsburgh (PA) Woodland Hills
College: Akron
NFL Draft: 1997 / Round: 3 / Pick: 73
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Tackles: 775
Quarterback sacks: 139.5
Interceptions: 8
Forced fumbles: 48
Fumbles recovered: 29
Touchdowns: 9
Player stats at NFL.com
Player stats at PFR

Jason Paul Taylor (born September 1, 1974)[1] is a former American football defensive end and linebacker who spent a majority of his career for the Miami Dolphins of the National Football League (NFL). Over the course of his 15-year career, Taylor played for the Dolphins on three separate occasions (19972007, 2009, 2011), and also played a season each for the Washington Redskins (2008) and New York Jets (2010). Taylor is 2nd all time in forced fumbles with 48, and is tied for the NFL record for fumble recoveries (with Jim Marshall) with 29.[2] He is seventh on the all-time career sack list with 139.5 sacks and is the all-time leader in fumble return touchdowns with 6, and interceptions returned for touchdowns by a defensive linemen with 3, while his 246 fumble return yards are the fourth highest total in NFL history.[3] With 9 career defensive touchdowns scored, he is also the all-time leader in that category for defensive linemen. He officially announced his retirement on December 28, 2011.

Taylor was a four-year letterman and three-year starter for the Akron Zips of the University of Akron before being drafted in the third round, thirteenth pick (73rd overall), in the 1997 NFL Draft by Miami.

A six-time Pro Bowl selection and four time 1st or 2nd team All-Pro, Taylor was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2006, and also named the Walter Payton Man of the Year in 2007. He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2017, one of four Dolphins players to be elected in their first year of eligibility (Dan Marino, Jim Langer, Paul Warfield).

Early years[edit]

Jason Taylor grew up around Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and played high school football for Woodland Hills High School. Taylor is one of the many players to reach the NFL from the successful football program led by coach George Novak at Woodland Hills. Taylor was homeschooled from grades 10 through 12.[4]

College career[edit]

While attending the University of Akron, Taylor was a four-year letterman and three-year starter for the Akron Zips football team. He recorded 279 tackles, 21 sacks, seven fumbles recovered, and three interceptions in his college career. He was a two-time first-team All-Mid-American Conference selection as a junior and senior, as well as an All-America pick as a junior. As a junior, he played weakside linebacker and moved to left defensive end as a senior. In 1996 he earned National Defensive Player of the Week honors for his performance against Virginia Tech when he posted 12 tackles, two sacks, two fumble recoveries, three stops for loss and tackled a punt returner in the end zone for a safety.

Taylor also started for the Akron Zips men's basketball team. In 2004, he became the third person ever inducted into Akron's Ring of Honor. He majored in political science and criminal justice.

Professional career[edit]

First stint with Dolphins[edit]

Taylor was drafted by the Miami Dolphins in the third Round (73rd pick overall) of the 1997 NFL Draft. Taylor signed a four-year deal worth approximately $1.3 million in July 1997. From there he established himself as one of the premier defensive ends in the league. He became a starter in his rookie season and recorded five sacks and forced two fumbles.

The following season, 1998, Taylor recorded nine sacks and the 6'6" Taylor batted away eight passes. In 1999 Taylor grabbed the first of his eight career NFL interceptions.[5]


On April 15, 2000, Taylor, a restricted free agent, received a one-year tender that earned him $1.027 million in 2000. Taylor responded with 73-tackles, 14.5-sacks, and 6-passes batted for the Dolphins that season. His performance was rewarded with his first selection to the Pro Bowl.

On July 24, 2001, he signed a six-year, $42 million contract to remain with the Dolphins. The new contract replaced the one-year, $5.39 million deal the Dolphins tendered Taylor in February, 2001, when he was designated their franchise player. In 2001 Taylor recorded 71 tackles (seven for a loss), 8.5 sacks and swatted away eight passes.

In 2002 Taylor led the NFL and tied the Dolphin team record for sacks with 18.5. He also forced seven fumbles and knocked down eight more passes to go with his 69 tackles. He was a consensus All-Pro selection and returned to the Pro Bowl. The next season (2003) Taylor followed up his All-Pro performances with a 13-sack season.


On March 1, 2004, the Dolphins, in an effort to create more salary cap space, agreed to a three-year contract extension with Taylor. The extension put Taylor under contract through the 2009 season. The new deal (which replaced his 6-year, $42 million contract that was scheduled to expire in 2006) was worth $45 million over the 2004-2009 seasons, including nearly $10 million guaranteed in 2004. In 2004 Taylor had 68 tackles, 9.5 sacks, batted 11 passes and picked off a pass. He followed that up with a 73-tackle, 12-sack showing in 2005. He also knocked down 10 passes and forced four fumbles.


Taylor enjoyed one of the best years of his career in 2006 when he recorded 13.5 sacks, 10 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries, and two interceptions (both of which were returned for touchdowns), an effort which resulted in his selection as the 2006 NFL Defensive Player of the Year. On January 5, 2007, Taylor received twenty-two votes from a panel of fifty sportswriters and broadcasters who cover the NFL. Taylor beat Denver Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey, who received sixteen votes. Shawne Merriman received six votes, and the winner of the award in 2005, Brian Urlacher of the Chicago Bears, received four votes. Taylor was also named a consensus All-Pro for the second time in his career.


In 2007 Taylor reached double-digits in sacks for the sixth time in his career and picked off another pass (the 7th of his career, and the 3rd returned for a TD). Five of his FRs he has returned for TDs, which is an NFL record shared with former Atlanta Falcons linebacker Jessie Tuggle. With eight career defensive TDs (three on INT returns, five on FR returns), Taylor became the all-time leader in defensive touchdowns scored by a defensive lineman. He has also registered two career safeties and has two career field goal blocks.

In 2007 Taylor was voted to the All-time Miami Dolphins team in a poll of Dolphins fans. He was a First-team selection at defensive end along with Bill Stanfill.

Washington Redskins[edit]

Taylor during the Redskins' training camp in 2008.

Miami Dolphins General Manager Jeff Ireland admitted that there were trade discussions regarding veteran defensive end Taylor. Jacksonville Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio acknowledged speaking to the Dolphins about Taylor, "They had a certain price in mind and nobody in the league was interested in that price".[6] On Monday April 28, 2008, The Miami Herald reported that Dolphin President Bill Parcells is displeased that Taylor skipped the Dolphins voluntary off-season workouts to be on Dancing with the Stars and that when "Taylor walked into a room where Parcells was watching tape, and Parcells ignored him".[7] Taylor was reportedly "incensed".[8] Ireland, on Sunday, April 27, 2008, said that the Dolphins want Taylor back for the 2008 season and regard him as a team leader.

On Saturday, April 26, 2008, The St. Petersburg Times reported that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had agreed to trade at least a second round pick, and perhaps others, to the Dolphins for Taylor. However, when the second round pick was traded to Jacksonville, the paper removed the story from its website. Buccaneers coach Jon Gruden, when asked about trade talks stated, “There have been some trade rumors and I don’t think we’re any different than anybody else. When you’re talking about high-profile players, we’re going to pick up the phone and see what’s going on. It’s part of our job.”[9]

On July 20, 2008, Taylor was traded to the Washington Redskins for a second-round pick in 2009 and a sixth-round pick in 2010.[10] The trade came after the Redskins lost two defensive ends - Phillip Daniels and Alex Buzbee - to season-ending injuries on the first day of training camp.

On March 2, 2009, Taylor was released by the Washington Redskins for refusing to participate in off-season conditioning programs claiming he wanted to be closer to his family in Florida.[11]

Second stint with Dolphins[edit]

Taylor (#99) playing Outside Linebacker for the Dolphins in 2009.
Taylor with the Dolphins in 2009.

On May 13, 2009, Taylor signed a one-year deal with the Miami Dolphins for $1.1 million with $400,000 in incentives. On November 1, Taylor set the NFL record for most fumble returns for a touchdown with a 48-yard return against the Dolphins' rivals, the New York Jets, and extended his NFL record of most defensive touchdowns scored by a defensive lineman with 9 (6 on fumble returns, 3 on INT returns). In a game against Tampa Bay, Taylor also recorded his 8th and final career interception, which is 2nd all-time for a defensive lineman.

New York Jets[edit]

Taylor signed with the New York Jets on April 20, 2010 to a 2-year contract worth up to $13 million with $2.5 million guaranteed.[12] On September 19, 2010 he sacked New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, giving him 128.5 sacks in his career, the 10th most in NFL history. With 132.5 sacks at the end of the regular season, he was tied for 8th most sacks in a career with Hall of Fame linebacker Lawrence Taylor and defensive end Leslie O'Neal.[13] On January 23, 2011 Taylor played in his first Conference Championship game in his productive 14-year career but only recorded 2 tackles while the Jets lost 24-19 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, falling one game short of the Super Bowl for the second straight year.

After a subpar season with the team, the Jets released Taylor on February 28, 2011.[14]

Third stint with Dolphins[edit]

Taylor (left) with Dolphins wide receiver Brandon Marshall in 2011.

On August 1, 2011, Taylor signed with the Miami Dolphins for a third stint. During a loss to the Philadelphia Eagles Jason Taylor sacked Michael Vick twice giving him seven sacks on the year, and also giving him the sixth most sacks in NFL history with 139.5, just ahead of Hall of Famers John Randle and Richard Dent.

Retirement and broadcasting career[edit]

On December 28, 2011, Taylor announced that he would retire at the end of the 2011 season. He played his final game on January 1, 2012 in a win against the New York Jets. In the game Taylor nearly returned a fumble for a touchdown, before the score was overruled.

Jason appeared as a guest analyst for NFL Live on June 6, 2011. On June 6, 2012 it was announced that Jason Taylor would join ESPN as an analyst. Taylor will contribute to NFL Live, SportsCenter, NFL32 and Sunday and Monday NFL Countdown. Taylor is a board member of NFL Foundation.[15]

On October 14, 2012, Jason along with his teammate Zach Thomas, together became the 23rd and 24th members to be inducted into the Miami Dolphins Honor Roll.

On February 4, 2017, Jason was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility, becoming the 10th "long time" Miami Dolphin to enter Canton, and the 5th Miami Dolphin (joining Paul Warfield, Jim Langer, Don Shula and Dan Marino) to do it his first year of eligibility.


Taylor has won numerous awards throughout his career, including the 2006 NFL Defensive Player of the Year award and the 2007 Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, the only league honor that recognizes both on-field achievements and off-the-field contributions. Taylor is also a six-time Pro Bowl selection (2000, 2002, 2004–2007), a four-time First or Second Team All-Pro (2000–2002, 2006), a two-time NFL Alumni Association Defensive Lineman of the Year (2005, 2006), and the NFL Alumni Association Pass Rusher of the Year (2000).

Taylor has also won the "AFC Defensive Player of the Week" Award seven times which is fifth most ever by a defensive player, for the following performances:

  • 10/13/02 vs. Denver: 5 Tackles, 2 Sacks, 1 FF
  • 12/15/02 vs. Oakland: 8 Tackles, 3 Sacks, 2 FFs
  • 11/23/03 vs. Washington: 9 Tackles, 2 Sacks
  • 11/28/04 vs. San Francisco: 7 Tackles, 3 Sacks, 1 FF, 1 FR
  • 11/27/05 vs. Oakland: 6 Tackles, 3 Sacks, 1 FF, 1 FR, 1 Safety
  • 11/5/06 vs. Chicago: 3 Tackles, 1 Sack, 1 FF, 1 INT returned for a TD
  • 11/19/06 vs. Minnesota: 4 Tackles, 1 Sack, 2 FFs, 1 INT returned for a TD
Taylor (#99) with fellow 2009 Dolphins team captains Chad Pennington, Joey Porter and Jason Ferguson.

Along with winning seven "AFC Defensive Player of the Week" Awards, Taylor has also won three "NFC/AFC Defensive Player of the Month" Awards which is the third most ever by a defensive player (trailing only Bruce Smith and John Randle) for the following performances:

  • October 2002 - 15 Tackles, 4 Sacks, 2 FFs
  • November 2002 - 15 Tackles, 5.5 Sacks, 1 FF
  • November 2006 - 9 Tackles, 2 Sacks, 3 FFs, 2 INTs returned for TDs, 1 Blocked FG

Taylor has also won numerous team awards, including the Dolphins Newcomer of the Year Award (1997), the "Dan Marino" Team MVP Award a record four times (2000, 2002, 2004, 2006), and the "Don Shula" Team Leadership Award four times (2002, 2006-2007, 2009).

On February 4, 2017, Taylor was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

NFL stats[edit]

Year Team Games Tackles Fumbles Interceptions
G GS Comb Total Ast Sacks FF FR Yds TD Int Yds Avg Long TD PD
1997 MIA 13 11 39 27 12 5.0 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4
1998 MIA 16 15 50 34 16 9.0 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 8
1999 MIA 15 15 40 24 16 2.5 0 2 4 1 1 0 0 0 0 4
2000 MIA 16 16 66 37 29 14.5 2 4 29 1 1 2 2 2 0 6
2001 MIA 16 16 70 47 23 8.5 4 4 7 1 1 4 4 4 0 7
2002 MIA 16 16 69 45 24 18.5 7 2 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 8
2003 MIA 16 16 57 37 20 13.0 3 2 34 1 0 0 0 0 0 2
2004 MIA 16 16 67 40 27 9.5 2 3 1 0 1 -3 -3 -3 0 10
2005 MIA 16 16 74 52 22 12.0 4 2 85 1 0 0 0 0 0 9
2006 MIA 16 16 61 41 20 13.5 10 2 33 0 2 71 36 51 2 10
2007 MIA 16 16 56 47 9 11.0 4 3 0 0 1 36 36 36 1 4
2008 WSH 13 8 29 21 8 3.5 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 9
2009 MIA 16 15 42 33 9 7.0 3 1 48 1 1 0 0 0 0 5
2010 NYJ 16 5 36 25 11 5.0 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 6
2011 MIA 16 2 18 13 5 7.0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2
Career 233 199 774 523 251 139.5 48 29 246 6 8 110 14 51 3 94


Dancing with the Stars[edit]

  • Week 1: Taylor and partner Edyta Sliwinska performed the foxtrot and received a score of 22 (out of 30) from the judges. He was dubbed an "early favorite" by the judges.
  • Week 2: Judge Len Goodman told Taylor, "You're a winner," after Taylor and Sliwinska's Mambo. The pair received a score of 27 as judge Bruno Tonioli called Taylor "the Mambo King." They were asked to perform the encore on the results show.
  • Week 3: Goodman told Taylor, "One week you're a rooster, the next week you're a feather duster," as Taylor's Jive garnered a score of 23 from the judges.
  • Week 4: Taylor and Sliwinska danced what Goodman labeled "a 'wow'" of a Viennese Waltz, and after receiving a score of 29, Taylor proudly announced that "the feather duster lives, baby."
  • Week 5: Tonioli said Taylor was a "love god" after his Rumba scored a 27.[17]
  • Week 6: Taylor and Sliwinska danced the Cha-cha-cha and scored a 24. Judge Goodman said they "captured the flavor of the dance."[18] Judge Inaba applauded his effort despite the cha-cha-cha not being the easiest dance for someone of his stature.
  • Week 7: First, Taylor danced the Quickstep to a score of 29, prompting Goodman to say, "With performances like that, you're in the final." Later on, Taylor and Edyta danced the Paso Doble to the NFL Monday Night Football theme and scored of 26. Taylor wore eye black as part of his costume. The combined score of 55 was tops among all dancing duos for Week 7.[19] They were asked to perform their Quickstep as an encore on the results show.
  • Week 8: Taylor and Sliwinska first danced the Tango and scored a 29. Then they danced the Samba and scored a 23 for a total score of 52 (the lowest scoring Latin dance of the night). The audience booed the 7 that Judge Len Goodman gave them.
  • Week 10: Taylor and Sliwinska danced and got their 1st perfect score 30/30. Taylor said to Kristi Yamaguchi, "Kristi, it does feel good."


Week # Dance/Song Judges' score Result
Inaba Goodman Tonioli
1 Foxtrot/ "Pride and Joy" 7 8 7 Safe
2 Mambo/ "Lupita" 9 9 9 Safe
3 Jive/ "I Got a Woman" 8 7 8 Safe
4 Viennese Waltz/ "It's a Man's Man's Man's World" 10 9 10 Safe
5 Rumba/ "You're All I Need To Get By" 9 9 9 Safe
6 Cha-Cha-Cha/ "Best of My Love" 8 8 8 Safe
7 Quickstep/ "The Dirty Boogie"
Paso Doble/ "Heavy Action"
8 Tango/ "Tango Barbaro"
Samba/ "It Had Better Be Tonight"
Last to be Called Safe
Foxtrot/ "Let's Call The Whole Thing Off"
Paso Doble/ "El Gato Montes"
Cha-Cha-Cha/ "Dancing on the Ceiling"
Freestyle/ "Miami"
Quickstep/ "The Dirty Boogie"

Charity work[edit]

In 2004 Taylor and his wife Katina founded the Jason Taylor Foundation with the goal of improving the lives of children in South Florida. The Foundation has accomplished much in a short time, including launching the Jason Taylor Reading Room, an after-school program aimed at increasing literacy among inner city children; renaming the Holtz Children's Hospital's learning center as "The Jason Taylor Children's Learning Center;" providing eleven sixth grade students with college scholarships through the Take Stock in Children organization; creating the "Big Screens-Big Dreams" program to screen inspirational films for hundreds of student-athletes; and furnishing 60 children with $300 back-to-school shopping certificates as part of the "Cool Gear for the School Year" program.[citation needed]

Taylor has also partnered with the Invicta Watch Group and its CEO, Eyal Lalo on a number of charitable ventures and was given the opportunity to create a collection of limited edition of watches. He said, "As a watch enthusiast and collector, I am excited to be partnering with Invicta on the development and launch of my collection of watches."[20]

Personal life[edit]

Taylor's wife, Katina, is the sister of former teammate and fellow All-Pro Zach Thomas. He shares the same birthday with Thomas, although Taylor is one year younger. Taylor and his wife have three children: sons Isaiah and Mason, and daughter Zoey. Katina filed for divorce twice in 2006, citing irreconcilable differences and asking for custody of the children, but withdrew the petitions both times.[21] Taylor's sister Joy Taylor is an employee for Fox Sports 1, serving as the moderator for Skip and Shannon: Undisputed.

Coincidentally, in 2008, when both Taylor and Thomas left the Dolphins for opposite sides of the Cowboys–Redskins rivalry, both changed their jersey numbers to 55, after wearing numbers 99 and 54 respectively with the Dolphins. While Thomas changed to number 55 for obvious reasons (Bobby Carpenter already had possession of number 54 in Dallas), Taylor decided to change his number after a discussion with his wife to start a new chapter with the Redskins.[22] Although fellow defensive end Andre Carter—who wore number 99 with the Redskins—was willing to let Taylor have the number, Taylor did not press the issue, wanting to "let 99 stay in Miami".


  1. ^ "Jason Taylor", Pro Football Reference, archived from the original on January 8, 2011, retrieved January 8, 2011 
  2. ^ https://www.sporcle.com/games/MM008/nflmostcarforfum
  3. ^ "NFL Career Fumble Return TD Leaders", Pro Football Reference, archived from the original on January 8, 2011, retrieved January 8, 2011 
  4. ^ Loh, Stefanie (June 5, 2011). "GOING DEEP: QnA with NFL veteran Jason Taylor, a homeschooled Pennsylvania native". The Patriot-News. Retrieved March 19, 2015. 
  5. ^ "NFL Official Profile page", National Football League, retrieved August 30, 2011 
  6. ^ "South Florida". Sun-sentinel.com. Retrieved March 3, 2009. 
  7. ^ Miami Herald.com "Parcells-Taylor impasse slows building process"[dead link]
  8. ^ ibid[dead link]
  9. ^ "Pro Football Talk.com". Pro Football Talk.com. February 18, 2009. Retrieved March 3, 2009. 
  10. ^ "Redskins get DE Taylor from Dolphins after Daniels goes down". NFL.com. July 28, 2008. Retrieved March 3, 2009. 
  11. ^ Redskins Release Six-Time Pro Bowl Defensive End Taylor Yahoo Sports, March 2, 2009
  12. ^ http://www.espn.com/new-york/nfl/news/story?id=5119342
  13. ^ http://espn.go.com/nfl/history/leaders/_/stat/sacks
  14. ^ Jets cut Damien Woody, ESPN, February 28, 2011. He signed with the Miami Dolphins for the 2011 season for a third stint., archived from the original on March 2, 2011, retrieved February 28, 2011  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  15. ^ "The NFL Foundation Board". National Football League Foundation. Retrieved 7 February 2015. 
  16. ^ "Jason Taylor Stats". ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures. Retrieved 27 June 2014. 
  17. ^ "Dancing with the Stars Week 5: Jason Taylor Dances Rumba". TV.Popcrunch.com. April 15, 2008. Retrieved March 3, 2009. 
  18. ^ "Dancing With The Stars: Week 6". TV Squad.com. April 21, 2008. Retrieved March 3, 2009. 
  19. ^ "Dancing with the Stars Week 7: Jason Taylor Quickstep Paso Doble". Tv.popcrunch.com. April 29, 2008. Retrieved March 3, 2009. 
  20. ^ "Taylor Designs watch collection". South Florida Business Journal. 
  21. ^ Jason Taylor Almost Quit Florida Sun-Sentinel, June 21, 2007.
  22. ^ "Taylor switches from No. 99 to 55, has first Skins practice". Sports.espn.go.com. July 23, 2008. Retrieved March 3, 2009. 

External links[edit]