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Jason Taylor loses man who was 'like a father to me'

One year ago, I got a phone call from a California area code. I picked up and agent Gary Wichard, in his unmistakable Brooklyn accent, was on the other end of the line getting ready to go into one of his classic schmooze sessions.

"What kind of trouble are you stirring down there, Armando," he told me with no anger in his voice. "You think if that (bleep) Bill Parcells doesn't want Jason Taylor, I'm going to have any trouble finding him a place to play? (Bleep) Bill Parcells! I can have Jason on three teams within a week if he gives me the go-ahead. The thing is he doesn't want to do that. So stop writing stuff that might make the Dolphins uncomfortable.

"Even if it's true."

That, in a nutshell, is my lasting impression of Gary Wichard. Cool. Collected. Tough. Succinct. Always came with a plan. Always planned a few moves ahead. He loved the truth as long as it suited him. And he didn't care what exactly the truth was when it came to Jason Taylor.

That's because Wichard didn't always see straight when it came to Jason Taylor.

Don't hold that against Gary Wichard. Most fathers find it hard seeing straight when it comes to their sons. And Wichard loved Taylor like a son. The man represented stars such as Dwight Freeney and Terrell Suggs and Antonio Cromartie, but the apple of Wichard's eye was always Jason Taylor.

On Friday, just one year since that conversation I just shared, Wichard passed away -- reportedly of diabetes and pancreatic cancer. He was 60. Only 60.

"Gary was far more than just an agent in my eyes," Taylor said in a statement released to me moments ago. "...he really and truly was like a father to me. He built my career, but it was so much more than that. Gary was by far the most positive person I've ever met and every person he came into contact with was touched in a positive way. I mean, the guy never had a bad day, or if he did, we certainly never knew it.

"I love him, and I miss him already."

I miss him, too. Obviously, I didn't know Wichard like Taylor did. But he was always professional with me. He always took my calls. He was often blunt. I like blunt. I relate to blunt. I understand blunt.

I got Gary Wichard.

No, he didn't like Parcells because he indentified Parcells as the man who ran Taylor out of Miami. He did like Jeff Ireland, Miami's general manager.

As Taylor's Dolphins days were winding down, Wichard got a call from Ireland one morning. The Miami GM had apparently just finished reading Dolphins In Depth and was apparently complaining about a post that included details of phone calls between Wichard and him that Ireland didn't want made public.

Ireland asked Wichard if he had told me those details. "Yeah, I told him," Wichard replied. And then Wichard hung up with Ireland and called me and told me Ireland was upset because he was starting to look bad.

I found that kind of funny, really. I also found it refreshing. Open. And downright gutsy.

I cannot vouch for Gary Wichard's business dealings. At his passing, he was serving an NFLPA suspension of his agent license. There were allegations -- unproven -- about his tactics for recruiting players being shady.

That is not my concern today. Today I feel rocked. I never would have believed if you had told me a year ago that within the year, Gary Wichard would be gone. It was, after all, only a year ago that this wiseguy agent was full of fight, full of nerve, full of life.

And now he's gone.

Rest in peace, Gary.

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f4 all the more reason to open your books. what are they hiding? enquiring minds want to know.

THE RICHES OWNER OF AN NFL TEAM;

1-PAUL ALLEN........13.5 BILLION DOLLARS...............SEA HAWKS
2-STEPHEN ROSS.......... 3.9 BILLION DOLLARS......... DOLPHINS

POOREST OWNER..........THE STEELERS OWNER ROONEY.....165 MILLION DOLLARS .

I don`t know bail, remember they operate in different parts of the Country so County and State tax laxs differ but it seems to be the rabbit hole the owners refuse to jump down and with all of the concessions they receive I`d imagine more than one hasn`t been completely forth right with the financial situation they presented to they`re State, is it shaddy you bet and probably very dangerous for more than one of them

Aloco, how is that possible about Dan Rooney, his Dad owned 100% of the Steelers which today have to be worth over 1 Billion.

IT'S NOT TRUE FIN4LIFE, THE ROONEY'S OWN ONLY A SMALL PORTION OF THE TEAM VALUED AT ONLY 165 MILLION .I THINK P.MANNING IS RICHER .

Really ? Art Rooney Sr. owned 100% of that team when he bought them back in the 40`s, that meens his sons sold of a big chunck I didn`t know Aloco

THE ROONEY'S OWN SMALL PORTION OF THE TEAM BUT MORE THAN ANY OTHER OWNERS ,BUT PAUL ALLEN THE MSFT FOUNDER OWNES ALMOST ALL THE SEA HAWKS LIKE STEPHN ROSS OF THE DOLPHINS AND BOB KRAFT OF NEW ENGLAND .

Hey Aloco, you think the owners got something to hide in those booke or what, would love to be a fly in the room during those converstions

fin4, its the good ol' American way. Employees or unions have the right to seek more money or to go on strike, especially when the company (or team) they work for is gaining more revenue because of their efforts. It's called profit sharing. If there were never any unions, labor disputes or strikes, we'd all be making $5 an hour and eating cheap canned food.

The owners are running a business and naturally want to make as much profit as possible. The players too want their fair share of the pie. At some point either the owners will have to accept the cost of business is going to be higher (more money to players), or the players will have to accept what they got is the best they can do. If neither of those happen, bye bye NFL.

fin4life..........


the whole thing is heaven for LAWYERS ON THE PLAYERS SIDE ,LOOK AT IT THIS WAY;;;;;;


PLAYERS IQ IS LESS THAN 40=HEAVEN FOR LAWYERS .
AS FOR THE OWNERS,SOME ARE DAYING FOR THE GAME TO RESUME LIKE MR ROONEY WHO'S THE ONLY OWNER TAKING THE PLayers side b/c he can't afford for the game to stop .

0x80,

As usual you make a very valid and compelling point but are you really going to compare wealthy Enterainers, looking to add to there portfolios, with the average American who`s Union works to make it safer for him on the job, while easing the economic burdens of every day life, gauranteed health care ect...

If you want to argue the point that the Veteran minimum is $ 885,000.00, while unproven rookies get 5 times that in the form of a signing bonus then yes there is a legit gripe, which is mute given that a wage scale was proposed for said rookies, while the vet minimum was to be set at 1.2 with an ecalator to 1.5 over 4 years, read it, Oh !!! and don`t forget the health benefits those demands were being addressed as well.

I get your point and it is the American way, with greed run afoul to boot, while the average American you talk about makes his sacrifices to pony up for tickets, apparrell ect.. I don`t know bro the whole thing just reeks to high heaven for me when Millioners are crying poverty on both side !!!!

The players need to wake up, there entertainers, they play a game for the American publics entertainment, were is our break in all of this ? Let them go have there little pity party some where else cause they get non from me and stop bashing Goodell he`s caught in the middle like everybody else. At least he tried to fix the problem. I remember Pete Rozelle folding his arms and taking a hard line with the ownwers in the 82 strike as did Tagliabue in 87. It wasn`t till at the end of his time running the League did Tags actually look to leave it in Labor peace.

fin4, in a purely idealistic sense, I agree with you, but as my anthropology teacher used to always say, "Life isn't a Walt Disney movie, the big squirrels in the park won't ever form a ladder so that the little squirrels can get into the trash to eat". Which is to say, in a practical sense, life just ain't fair, never has been and never will be. So comparing high paid entertainment workers with low income hard labor workers may not be just....in our world of business and laws, those big E players are seen as an employee in just the same way as is the coal miner. It always comes down to who is going to fight hardest, (legally or morally or criminally) to get their peace of the pie...and sometimes its just all luck too.

I know thats bleak and sad...but thats the world we live in.

0x80,

As usual my friend great point on the moral make up of our Nation and I would argue makes us great, feared and misunderstood all at once, if I were not a fan I wouldn`t even touch this one but since I am I feel upset. Understand this is nothing more than a futile attempt on my part to vent my frustrations. I`m not a babe living in the woods I get what your saying 100% but it still doesn`t make it any easier.

Never thought otherwise, its frustrating seeing the stinking rich act like 10 stinking children fighting over 50 chocolate chip cookies.

0x80,

You said it bro !! I wonder if this thing actually goes the distance and threatens the season even partially do you see a fallout like the one MLB had after there last dispute ?

fin4, got company stealing my attention...will try to get back later.

Armondo, last season you tell everyone who got on jason taylor for signing with the jets that they were the only team that wanted him and he had the right to sign with them. now you write that his agent called you to say 3 or 4 teams were interested. what is the truth.did he stick it to dolphin fans to sign with the jets or was it his only option. if there were other teams that wanted him why would he sign with the jets and destroy his legacy in miami. someone lied to the fans of miami, either jason or you. please explain.

Good job Armando Instead of a nice artical appreciating his life you managed to twist this so you could put down the dolphins. Damn your disrespectful

Labor is the youngest term for Labour, which is more difficult.

I am too wound up(for some reason), I will go see "The Social Network" with my son(for some reason, he wants to see it).

Robert Gallery...dropped by the Raiders....would make an excellent addition to the Fins OL. he could start at LG or RG and give the team a huge lift. Plus, it might allow Incognito to move to center with berger as his backup.

Great story

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