Sunday, March 29, 2009
Pats' push gets Taylor's attention
By Tim Graham
HOLLYWOOD, Fla. -- Jason Taylor isn't ruling out a return to the Miami Dolphins, but the pass rusher couldn't conceal his delight over reading comments that New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft would love to add him.
"I did hear that. I can't lie," Taylor said Sunday night on the red carpet of an event for the Jason Taylor Foundation at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. "I have not talked to Robert Kraft. We'll leave it at that. Those things will sort themselves out, and hopefully in the near future so I can get back to work.
"But it's great to be wanted. It's great to be wanted. Sure, especially an organization like them or the Dolphins."
In regard to the possibility of returning to the Dolphins, the club he spent 11 remarkable seasons with, Taylor said "Absolutely. There's no reason I wouldn't." But he also noted "I'm the wrong person to talk to about that. I sign one line on the contract, and the other guy signs the other line."
The man who would sign the other line in New England already has suggested he's ready to put pen to paper.
Kraft, speaking Tuesday at the NFL owners' meeting in Dana Point, Calif., was asked about the possibility of signing Taylor.
"Great player," Kraft told Yahoo! Sports. "I'm sure that can happen if he wants it."
Patriots receiver Wes Welker seconded that notion. Welker, a former teammate of Taylor's in Miami, attended Sunday's charity function.
"Jason's a great player, so the more great players you can add to a team the better off you're going to be," Welker said. "That's up the coaches and Jason and everything else. I'm kind of nudging him a little bit, but at the same time he's got to do what's best for him and his family.
"I know Coach [Bill] Belichick likes the veteran, smart guys that have been around the league for a while and know how everything works and how to be a pro. For us, it's all about becoming a better team and whatever we can do to improve our team, that's what we're going to do."
Taylor, a six-time Pro Bowler, is coming off a disappointing season with the Washington Redskins. He played 13 games and started only eight while battling a strange calf injury that required emergency surgery to drain blood. He finished with 37 tackles and 3½ sacks.
The Redskins released him on March 2 amid reports he wasn't interested in committing to the offseason program. Taylor refuted such accounts, claiming he and Redskins owner Dan Snyder hashed out his release.
"We sat down here in Miami and I told him point blank I didn't want to steal from him," Taylor said. "I didn't want to go up there and take the eight-and-a-half-million dollars and not be productive. It wasn't fair.
"I took a lot of heat last year for the lack of productivity, and the injuries and whatnot, but after you play in a certain system and a certain situation for 11 years and make the Pro Bowl six times, then they tell you now play the other side, it doesn't always work that way. We couldn't find that mix last year."
Taylor, who will turn 35 in September, was coy about his future plans.
He was definitive that he will play somewhere, but claimed he had no timetable to make a decision. He also stated "it's not about the money. I walked away from the money in D.C."
Taylor's agent, Gary Wichard, is due to arrive in South Florida this week to discuss an approach to finding Taylor a new employer.
"My main focus right now is spending time with the kids and the family, being back down here in Florida," Taylor said. "The rest of that will work itself out. It's got to be the right situation, beneficial for both team and myself, whatever team that is. I look forward to finding one, so I can get back to work, get with the program and keep going."
Tim Graham covers the NFL for ESPN.com.