I have reported in Wednesday's Miami Herald that Jason Taylor is retiring following Sunday's regular-season finale against the New York Jets.
Read my column on this breaking news here on The Herald website. The column gives all the necessary details you need.
I want to share my favorite memory of Jason Taylor.
Believe it or not, it came in the forgettable 2006 season when Nick Saban's team was underperforming and disappointing former players as well as fans. The seemingly overmatched Dolphins were winners of only one game in their first seven and the Bears were undefeated at 7-0 when the two teams were scheduled to meet at Soldier Field, where the Bears had outscored their opponents 152-30 in their previous four games.
No one gave the Dolphins much of a chance.
And Taylor was angry as I've ever seen him in his 15-year career. He was angry nobody gave the Dolphins a chance. He was angry the media wasn't respecting the team. He was angry former Dolphins guard Bob Kuechenberg had told the Chicago Tribune the Dolphins had "no soul" and a victory over Chicago was "not even remotely possible."
That week, Taylor said Kuechenberg needed "a hug and a hobby." And as for the Bears, he refused to say they were better than Miami while acerbically calling them the "Almighty Bears."
I frankly dismissed it as pregame bravado that wouldn't amount to much. Taylor made it amount. Plenty.
Taylor had a strip-sack that notched a turnover and intercepted a Rex Grossman pass that he returned 20 yards for a touchdown. The Dolphins won 31-13. And in the locker room afterward, Taylor didn't play the smug I-told-you-so athlete. He simply explained how he and his teammates felt.
"We were 1-6 and had faced a lot of criticism," he said. "I don't mind if you criticize us. That's fine. But the disrespect is what bothers me. When someone questions your heart and all that, that gets my attention. It got all our attention."
It gets my attention, as we look back on Taylor's career, that some Dolphins fans still believe he was disloyal to the team because he was traded away in 2008 and signed with the Jets in 2010. For the record, he did wish to be traded in 2008 but soon found out that was a mistake. So he returned in 2009, hoping to finish his career in Miami but after that season was told nothing about playing in Miami in 2010. So that forced his hand to sign with New York.
As far as loyatly is concerned, he was always loyal to his coaches publicly and privately. He defended Dave Wannstedt, Jim Bates, Nick Saban and Tony Sparano staunchly. No, he wasn't too fond of Cam Cameron. No he never defended Cameron publicly or privately. Um, I understand why.
The more important question is did Taylor do enough to get into the Pro Football Hall of Fame?
Assuming he doesn't collect more sacks in his final game, he finishes ranked fifth on the all-time sack list. That alone makes him a HOF candidate. He probably has to wait for guys such as Chris Doleman and Michael Strahan to get in before he does. That's probably fine with Taylor.
He's got five years before he's eligible for consideration anyway.
By the way, the Dolphins have retired Dan Marino, Larry Csonka and Bob Griese's numbers. Should 99 be retired?
Discuss ... And give JT a warm sendoff, people.
[RADIO NOTE: It'll be JT all the time on my radio show, Armando and the Amigo, this morning. We'll talk about his legacy, his time with and away from the Dolphins, and where he stands in Dolphins history. We'll take your phone calls toll-free from anywhere in the United States at 1-888-640-9385. And you may watch the show stream live video right here at The Miami Herald website from start to finish, 6-10 a.m., if you wish.]