Monday, January 24, 2011
Jason Taylor ponders his possible finale
By Tim Graham
PITTSBURGH -- When he needed a moment to compose himself, Jason Taylor reached down and adjusted the twin microphones on the lectern although they didn't need to be moved at all.
The Jets' Jason Taylor, who has 132.5 career sacks, will turn 37 before the next season begins.
Taylor's eyes were glassy. If he hadn't been crying before he took his turn at the New York Jets' postgame news conference, then he was on the verge. Taylor came close to tears a few more times when answering questions about his future an hour after falling five points short of his first Super Bowl.
"So close," Taylor said, his voice barely above a whisper. "So close you could see it."
The Jets' enthralling season ended Sunday night in Taylor's hometown. The Pittsburgh Steelers jumped out to a 24-0 first-half lead and then held on for a 24-19 victory at Heinz Field.
Taylor always will be remembered as a Miami Dolphin, spending 12 of his 14 seasons with the aqua and orange. But the Jets presented his best opportunity to be a champion.
Taylor's career is in the gloaming. He knows he might have played his last down, whether it's up to him or not.
"There's so many emotions going through me right now," Taylor said. "Getting to this point and then losing ..."
Taylor paused and looked downward. His left hand jiggled the microphones.
"We'll cross that bridge."
Plane rides home after a season-ending loss provide some of the most poignant times for teammates. They're like wakes at 30,000 feet. You're not supposed to look forward to them.
But Taylor, expressing a need to soak in every last moment of what could be his final breaths as an NFL player, lamented that flying from Pittsburgh to New Jersey takes only an hour.
"I don't know what's going to happen, but I know one thing," Taylor said. "This team as you see it tonight will never be together again regardless of whether Jason Taylor is back or anybody else is back. It will not be the same football team. That's sad in its own right."
Taylor will turn 37 before the next season begins. He said his return would be up to Jets head coach Rex Ryan and general manager Mike Tannenbaum. Taylor signed a two-year contract with the Jets last April, but a clause tied to his sack output voided the second year.