Thursday, October 13, 2011
Rex Ryan wanted Jason Taylor back
By Jane McManus
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Coach Rex Ryan wanted linebacker Jason Taylor back with the New York Jets after the lockout ended.
"I'll say this: We would have loved to have him back," Ryan said.
Instead, the Dolphin-turned-Jet, who talked of retirement at the end of the Jets' playoff run, turned into a Dolphin again and will be on the opposite side of the field when the teams play at MetLife Stadium on Monday.
"Things worked out here and it fits," Taylor said Thursday on a conference call with Jets beat writers.
Taylor spoke fondly of his one-year internship with the Jets defense, where he played alongside Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie, both of whom spoke highly of him. For his part, Taylor siad he doesn't regret donning green and white.
"I had a great time," Taylor said. "There's always some people in Miami that don't want to hear that. The fact of the matter is I enjoyed myself last year. We had a good bit of success; didn't go as far as we would've liked but the journey was a lot of fun. Kind of got a chance to walk in the shoes of another man, so to speak, and see it from the other side, and I had a really good time and it changed some of the perspective I had on what the Jets were all about."
Taylor, who is based in Miami, said the decision to come back was easy. At the same time he said he was looking forward to coming to New York to talk to the Jets.
"I'm happy we had him last year," Ryan said. "Jason played great for us last year. He made some huge plays. I thought Jason was great for this football team, his presence on the field and in the locker room, as well. He's a class act all the way, so I don't regret signing Jason Taylor here for one second."
The lovefest -- Taylor didn't reprise comments he'd made about Dolphins quarterback Chad Henne's potential compared to Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez -- will end on Monday, as Taylor does not expect the Jets fans to be quite so generous.
"I'm sure I'll be booed," Taylor said. "I was booed for a lot of years in that town and I tried to do my best to make them cheer last year."
Both the Jets and the Dolphins are struggling right now, and although it looks bleak for 0-4 Miami, Taylor thinks the Dolphins will turn it around.
"The word desperation gets thrown around too easily," Taylor said.
And he isn't worried about the 2-3 Jets yet either.
"They'll be all right," Taylor said. "Sometimes things don't click as quite as fast as people would like but they'll be fine. They've got the players (and) the talent to do it."
Sanchez didn't reference Taylor's comparison when asked about his former teammate, whose locker was two down from the quarterback, but instead said Taylor was a total pro.
"We'll be excited to see him before the game and then during the game we have to get after him, we have to block him," Sanchez said. "Then after the game just say, 'Good luck and stay healthy,' but hopefully we win this one."
Jane McManus is a columnist and reporter for ESPNNewYork.com.