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Monday, June 22, 2009
Did Zach Thomas deserve all-decade honor?


Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

DAVIE, Fla. -- Two Miami Dolphins were selected for ESPN.com's all-decade defense.

 
  Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
  Jason Taylor, left, was disappointed former Dolphins teammate Zach Thomas, right, did not make ESPN.com's all-decade defense.
Jason Taylor believes there should've been three.

Taylor, an easy selection for defensive end, was disappointed to learn Zach Thomas didn't make the cut at linebacker in the honorary squad's 4-3 setup.

"Obviously, I'm biased, but I think Zach is a guy that never got the respect he should've had but was as good as or better than anybody out there," Taylor said after a recent minicamp practice.

Taylor is married to Thomas' sister. They played 10 years together, combining for 12 Pro Bowl selections.

Thomas was voted to seven Pro Bowls. He was a five-time All-Pro. He led the Dolphins in tackles 10 times in his dozen seasons with them.

But Thomas was against formidable competition on the all-decade team, chosen with input from an assembly of NFL general managers, coaches, scouts and players. Derrick Brooks, Ray Lewis and Brian Urlacher boxed Thomas out.

"It's always a disappointing thing when I don't see his name associated with guys like these," Taylor said. "Not to take anything away from these guys, but I just know who Zach was and what kind of guy he was."

Former Dolphins and Buffalo Bills defensive back Troy Vincent made the all-decade team. Also from the AFC East was defensive tackle Kris Jenkins, who joined the New York Jets last year after seven years with the Carolina Panthers.

As for his inclusion on the all-decade team, Taylor didn't want to get too excited.

This is a legacy-oriented honor, and a player rarely admits to considering his place in history before he has played his final down. Randy Moss, of course, is an exception.

"I'm flattered, but you don't play the game for things like this," Taylor said. "They're the byproduct of trying to do things the right way and play your [expletive] off for years. It's a great thing, but I never think about it.

"I've always shied away from people talking about things like that or the Hall of Fame because I think those things will just happen. If you talk about them ... maybe I'm superstitious. I just don't want to be jinxed. I haven't rolled up the extension cord yet. I'm still going."