While much of the rest of the world is still digesting the fact Jason Taylor and Bill Parcells have resolved their differences from a year ago, most of you on this blog were the first to know of the disconnect over a year ago and the first to learn of the reconciliation about three or four months ago.
Now you will be the first to know of the strong kinship Taylor and coach Tony Sparano have inexplicably forged in the past 15 months. I say inexplicably because Taylor has never played for Sparano so it is odd that a player would get so close to a coach without having been on the same sideline with the guy.
And yet when Taylor was traded to the Redskins last year, he had one regret he shared with his agent Gary Wichard.
"Jason told me, 'The thing I regret most about all this is that I didn't get a chance to play for Tony Sparano,' " Wichard told me recently.
Sparano connected with Taylor last offseason when he reached out to the player who was not participating in Miami's OTAs or conditioning program. Sparano texted and called Taylor and the two communicated about a variety of issues -- including the Dancing with the Stars appearances that seemingly vexed Bill Parcells.
Sparano would congratulate Taylor every week he'd advance in the competition. (Don't know if he gave him tips on his paso doble, though).
I am told the two communicated throughout the 2008 season, although a little less often because there were tampering issues to think about. But it is fair to say the lines of communication remained open. And once Taylor was cut by the Redskins, the texting and talking resumed full throttle.
It got to the point, I am told by sources, that Sparano shared an outline of the Dolphins workout program with Taylor. Taylor then hired a trainer and followed the outline on his own so as to not fall too far behind his once and future teammates.
And yes, Taylor wanted to return to the Dolphins because Miami is home and his family is here. But the fact Sparano is the coach also made the Dolphins more appealing.
“Well, I think that it certainly plays into it, because at the end of this whole thing Jason had to feel comfortable with me and I had to feel comfortable with him and we really do feel good with each other that way and I think that was really important," Sparano said. "So communication, you know all those things taking place, feeling good about the situation and then going forward from there and it just wasn’t myself and Jason but all parties included. Now then at the end of this whole thing Jason has to play for me so I think that’s one of the things that was really important.”
One really important attribute of this relationship is that Sparano and Taylor are two straight-talking guys in private. In public they have the capability and ability to be politically correct. But they drop the pretenses in private. And both appreciate that.
“Man to man we’ll sit and he’ll tell me how he feels and what he thinks and what he wants and what his philosophy is and I can speak very candidly to him and tell him how I think, how I feel, and my approach on certain things," Taylor said. "That open, honest, face-to-face communication is the way it could be done in any walk of life and any business -- any sport, marriage, whatever it may be.
"So I think that was the genesis of our good relationship and we continued to talk over the year. And I told Tony last year when I was in LA that I wanted to play for him. I told him when I got traded that I wanted to play for him. I told him throughout the season. I know there was sort of an issue where you can’t really talk and all that stuff but I would congratulate the guys here and they knew how I felt about Tony and the team. That didn’t change when I got released.”
[PERSONAL NOTE: It's my wife birthday today. Want to wish her a happy, prosperous, blessed day. I know you guys don't know her. I am certain of that, by the way. But feel free to give a shout-out, too, if you like.]