Jason Taylor (American football)

Jason Taylor
Taylor with the Dolphins in 2009
No. 99, 55
Position: Defensive end, outside linebacker
Personal information
Born: (1974-09-01) September 1, 1974
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Height: 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)
Weight: 244 lb (111 kg)
Career information
High school: Woodland Hills
(Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
College: Akron
NFL Draft: 1997 / Round: 3 / Pick: 73
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Tackles: 775
Quarterback sacks: 139.5
Interceptions: 8
Forced fumbles: 47
Fumbles recovered: 29
Touchdowns: 9
Player stats at NFL.com
Player stats at PFR

Jason Paul Taylor (born September 1, 1974[1]) is a former American football defensive end and outside linebacker who spent the majority of his career with the Miami Dolphins of the National Football League (NFL). Over the course of his 15-year career, Taylor played for the Dolphins on three separate occasions (19972007, 2009 and 2011), and also played a season each for the Washington Redskins (2008) and New York Jets (2010). Taylor has the fourth most forced fumbles of all time with 47, and is tied for the NFL record for fumble recoveries (with Jim Marshall) with 29.[2] He is seventh on the all-time career sack list with 139.5 sacks and is the all-time leader in fumble return touchdowns with six, and interceptions returned for touchdowns by a defensive lineman with three, while his 246 fumble return yards are the fourth-highest total in NFL history.[3] With nine career touchdowns scored, he is also the all-time leader in that category for defensive linemen. He officially announced his retirement on December 28, 2011.

Taylor was a four-year letterman and three-year starter for the Akron Zips of the University of Akron before being drafted in the third round, thirteenth pick (73rd overall), in the 1997 NFL Draft by Miami.

A six-time Pro Bowl selection and four-time first- or second-team All-Pro, Taylor was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2006, and also named the Walter Payton Man of the Year in 2007. He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2017.

Early years

Jason Taylor grew up around Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and played high school football for Woodland Hills High School. He was homeschooled from grades 10 through 12.[4]

College career

While attending the University of Akron, Taylor was a four-year letterman and three-year starter for the Akron Zips football team. He recorded 279 tackles, 21 sacks, seven fumbles recovered, and three interceptions in his college career. He was a two-time first-team All-Mid-American Conference selection as a junior and senior, as well as an All-America pick as a junior. As a junior, he played weakside linebacker and moved to left defensive end as a senior. In 1996, he earned National Defensive Player of the Week honors for his performance against Virginia Tech when he posted 12 tackles, two sacks, two fumble recoveries, three stops for loss and tackled a punt returner in the end zone for a safety.

Taylor also started for the Akron Zips men's basketball team. In 2004, he became the third person ever inducted into Akron's Ring of Honor. He majored in political science and criminal justice.

Professional career

First stint with Dolphins

Taylor was drafted by the Miami Dolphins in the third Round (73rd pick overall) of the 1997 NFL Draft. Taylor signed a four-year deal worth approximately $1.3 million in July 1997. From there he established himself as one of the premier defensive ends in the league. He became a starter in his rookie season and recorded five sacks and forced two fumbles.

The following season, 1998, Taylor recorded nine sacks and the 6'6" Taylor batted away eight passes. In 1999 Taylor grabbed the first of his eight career NFL interceptions.[5]


On April 15, 2000, Taylor, a restricted free agent, received a one-year tender that earned him $1.027 million in 2000. Taylor responded with 73 tackles, 14.5 sacks, and 6 passes batted for the Dolphins that season. His performance was rewarded with his first selection to the Pro Bowl.

On July 24, 2001, he signed a six-year, $42 million contract to remain with the Dolphins. The new contract replaced the one-year, $5.39 million deal the Dolphins tendered Taylor in February, 2001, when he was designated their franchise player. In 2001 Taylor recorded 71 tackles (seven for a loss), 8.5 sacks and swatted away eight passes.

In 2002, Taylor led the NFL and tied the Dolphin team record for sacks with 18.5. He also forced seven fumbles and knocked down eight more passes to go with his 69 tackles. He was a consensus All-Pro selection and returned to the Pro Bowl. The next season (2003) Taylor followed up his All-Pro performances with a 13-sack season.


On March 1, 2004, the Dolphins, in an effort to create more salary cap space, agreed to a three-year contract extension with Taylor. The extension put Taylor under contract through the 2009 season. The new deal (which replaced his 6-year, $42 million contract that was scheduled to expire in 2006) was worth $45 million over the 2004-2009 seasons, including nearly $10 million guaranteed in 2004. In 2004 Taylor had 68 tackles, 9.5 sacks, batted 11 passes and picked off a pass. He followed that up with a 73-tackle, 12-sack showing in 2005. He also knocked down 10 passes and forced four fumbles.


Taylor enjoyed one of the best years of his career in 2006 when he recorded 13.5 sacks, 9 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries, and two interceptions (both of which were returned for touchdowns), an effort which resulted in his selection as the 2006 NFL Defensive Player of the Year. On January 5, 2007, Taylor received twenty-two votes from a panel of fifty sportswriters and broadcasters who cover the NFL. Taylor beat Denver Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey, who received sixteen votes. Shawne Merriman received six votes, and the winner of the award in 2005, Brian Urlacher of the Chicago Bears, received four votes. Taylor was also named a consensus All-Pro for the second time in his career.


In 2007 Taylor reached double-digits in sacks for the sixth time in his career and picked off another pass (the 7th of his career, and the 3rd returned for a TD). Five of his FRs he has returned for TDs, which is an NFL record shared with former Atlanta Falcons linebacker Jessie Tuggle. With eight career defensive TDs (three on INT returns, five on FR returns), Taylor became the all-time leader in defensive touchdowns scored by a defensive lineman. He has also registered two career safeties and has two career field goal blocks.

In 2007 Taylor was voted to the All-time Miami Dolphins team in a poll of Dolphins fans. He was a First-team selection at defensive end along with Bill Stanfill.

Washington Redskins

Miami Dolphins General Manager Jeff Ireland admitted that there were trade discussions regarding veteran defensive end Taylor. Jacksonville Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio acknowledged speaking to the Dolphins about Taylor, "They had a certain price in mind and nobody in the league was interested in that price".[6] On Monday April 28, 2008, The Miami Herald reported that Dolphin President Bill Parcells is displeased that Taylor skipped the Dolphins voluntary off-season workouts to be on Dancing with the Stars and that when "Taylor walked into a room where Parcells was watching tape, and Parcells ignored him".[7] Taylor was reportedly "incensed".[8] Ireland, on Sunday, April 27, 2008, said that the Dolphins want Taylor back for the 2008 season and regard him as a team leader.

On Saturday, April 26, 2008, The St. Petersburg Times reported that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had agreed to trade at least a second round pick, and perhaps others, to the Dolphins for Taylor. However, when the second round pick was traded to Jacksonville, the paper removed the story from its website. Buccaneers coach Jon Gruden, when asked about trade talks stated, “There have been some trade rumors and I don’t think we’re any different than anybody else. When you’re talking about high-profile players, we’re going to pick up the phone and see what’s going on. It’s part of our job.”[9]

On July 20, 2008, Taylor was traded to the Washington Redskins for a second-round pick in 2009 and a sixth-round pick in 2010.[10] The trade came after the Redskins lost two defensive ends - Phillip Daniels and Alex Buzbee - to season-ending injuries on the first day of training camp.

On March 2, 2009, Taylor was released by the Washington Redskins for refusing to participate in off-season conditioning programs after claiming he wanted to be closer to his family in Florida.[11]

Second stint with Dolphins

On May 13, 2009, Taylor signed a one-year deal with the Miami Dolphins for $1.1 million with $400,000 in incentives. On November 1, Taylor set the NFL record for most fumble returns for a touchdown with a 48-yard return against the Dolphins' rivals, the New York Jets, and extended his NFL record of most defensive touchdowns scored by a defensive lineman with 9 (6 on fumble returns, 3 on interception returns). In a game against Tampa Bay, Taylor also recorded his 8th and final career interception, which is second all-time for a defensive lineman.

New York Jets

Taylor signed with the New York Jets on April 20, 2010, to a two-year contract worth up to $13 million with $2.5 million guaranteed.[12] On September 19, 2010, he sacked New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, giving him 128.5 sacks in his career, the 10th-most in NFL history. With 132.5 sacks at the end of the regular season, he was tied for 8th most sacks in a career with Hall of Fame linebacker Lawrence Taylor and defensive end Leslie O'Neal.[13] On January 23, 2011, Taylor played in his first Conference Championship game in his 14-year career and recorded 2 tackles while the Jets lost, 24–19, against the Pittsburgh Steelers, falling one game short of the Super Bowl for the second straight year.

After a subpar season with the team, the Jets released Taylor on February 28, 2011.[14] He signed with the Miami Dolphins for the 2011 season for a third stint.

Third stint with Dolphins

On August 1, 2011, Taylor signed with the Miami Dolphins for a third stint. During a loss to the Philadelphia Eagles Jason Taylor sacked Michael Vick twice giving him seven sacks on the year, and also giving him the sixth-most sacks in NFL history with 139.5, just ahead of Hall of Famers John Randle and Richard Dent.

Retirement and broadcasting career

On December 28, 2011, Taylor announced that he would retire at the end of the 2011 season. He played his final game on January 1, 2012, in a 19–17 win against his former team the New York Jets. In the game Taylor nearly returned a fumble for a touchdown, before the score was overruled. After the game ended, Taylor was ceremoniously carried off the field by his teammates. Jason retired 6th on the NFL's all time sack list with 139.5 sacks, along with 47 career forced fumbles, 29 fumble recoveries with an NFL Record six returned for TDs, and eight career interceptions with three returned for TDs. With nine career defensive touchdowns, he is the NFL's all time leader in that category for defensive linemen.

Taylor appeared as a guest analyst for NFL Live on June 6, 2011. On June 6, 2012, it was announced that he would join ESPN as an analyst to contribute to NFL Live, SportsCenter, NFL32 and Sunday and Monday NFL Countdown. Taylor is a board member of NFL Foundation.[15]

On October 14, 2012, Taylor along with his teammate Zach Thomas, together became the 23rd and 24th members to be inducted into the Miami Dolphins Honor Roll.

On February 4, 2017, Taylor was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility, becoming the 10th "long time" Miami Dolphin to enter Canton, and the fifth Miami Dolphin (joining Paul Warfield, Jim Langer, Don Shula and Dan Marino) to do it his first year of eligibility.


Taylor has won numerous awards throughout his career, including the 2006 NFL Defensive Player of the Year award, two AFC Defensive Player of the Year awards (2002, 2006), and the 2007 Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, the only league honor that recognizes both on-field achievements and off-the-field contributions. Taylor is also a six-time Pro Bowl selection (2000, 2002, 2004–2007), a four-time First or Second Team All-Pro (2000–2002, 2006), a two-time NFL Alumni Association Defensive Lineman of the Year (2005, 2006), and the NFL Alumni Association Pass Rusher of the Year (2000).

Taylor has also won the "AFC Defensive Player of the Week" Award seven times which is fifth most ever by a defensive player, for the following performances:

  • 10/13/02 vs. Denver: 5 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 FF
  • 12/15/02 vs. Oakland: 8 Tackles, 3 Sacks, 2 FFs
  • 11/23/03 vs. Washington: 9 Tackles, 2 Sacks
  • 11/28/04 vs. San Francisco: 7 Tackles, 3 Sacks, 1 FF, 1 FR
  • 11/27/05 vs. Oakland: 6 Tackles, 3 Sacks, 1 FF, 1 FR, 1 Safety
  • 11/5/06 vs. Chicago: 3 Tackles, 1 Sack, 1 FF, 1 INT returned for a TD
  • 11/19/06 vs. Minnesota: 4 Tackles, 1 Sack, 2 FFs, 1 INT returned for a TD

Along with winning seven "AFC Defensive Player of the Week" Awards, Taylor has won three "NFC/AFC Defensive Player of the Month" Awards, which is the third most ever by a defensive player (trailing only Bruce Smith and John Randle) for the following performances:

  • October 2002 - 15 tackles, 4 sacks, 2 FFs
  • November 2002 - 15 tackles, 5.5 sacks, 1 FF
  • November 2006 - 9 tackles, 2 sacks, 3 FFs, 2 INTs returned for TDs, 1 blocked FG

Taylor has also won numerous team awards, including the Dolphins Newcomer of the Year Award (1997), the "Dan Marino" Team MVP Award a record four times (2000, 2002, 2004, 2006), and the "Don Shula" Team Leadership Award four times (2002, 2006-2007, 2009).

NFL statistics

Year Team Games Tackles Fumbles Interceptions
1997MIA 13113927125.02200000004
1998MIA 16155034169.03000000008
1999MIA 15154024162.50241100004
2000MIA 161666372914.524291122206
2001MIA 16167047238.54471144407
2002MIA 161669452418.57250000008
2003MIA 161657372013.032341000002
2004MIA 16166740279.523101-3-3-3010
2005MIA 161674522212.042851000009
2006MIA 161661412013.5923302713651210
2007MIA 16165647911.04300136363614
2008WSH 138292183.51000000009
2009MIA 1615423397.031481100005
2010NYJ 1653625115.02200000006
2011MIA 162181357.01000000002


Dancing with the Stars

  • Week 1: Taylor and partner Edyta Sliwinska performed the foxtrot and received a score of 22 (out of 30) from the judges. He was dubbed an "early favorite" by the judges.
  • Week 2: Judge Len Goodman told Taylor, "You're a winner," after Taylor and Sliwinska's Mambo. The pair received a score of 27 as judge Bruno Tonioli called Taylor "the Mambo King." They were asked to perform the encore on the results show.
  • Week 3: Goodman told Taylor, "One week you're a rooster, the next week you're a feather duster," as Taylor's Jive garnered a score of 23 from the judges.
  • Week 4: Taylor and Sliwinska danced what Goodman labeled "a 'wow'" of a Viennese Waltz, and after receiving a score of 29, Taylor proudly announced that "the feather duster lives, baby."
  • Week 5: Tonioli said Taylor was a "love god" after his Rumba scored a 27.[17]
  • Week 6: Taylor and Sliwinska danced the Cha-cha-cha and scored a 24. Judge Goodman said they "captured the flavor of the dance."[18] Judge Inaba applauded his effort despite the cha-cha-cha not being the easiest dance for someone of his stature.
  • Week 7: First, Taylor danced the Quickstep to a score of 29, prompting Goodman to say, "With performances like that, you're in the final." Later on, Taylor and Edyta danced the Paso Doble to the NFL Monday Night Football theme and scored of 26. Taylor wore eye black as part of his costume. The combined score of 55 was tops among all dancing duos for Week 7.[19] They were asked to perform their Quickstep as an encore on the results show.
  • Week 8: Taylor and Sliwinska first danced the Tango and scored a 29. Then they danced the Samba and scored a 23 for a total score of 52 (the lowest scoring Latin dance of the night). The audience booed the 7 that Judge Len Goodman gave them.
  • Week 10: Taylor and Sliwinska danced and got their 1st perfect score 30/30. Taylor said to Kristi Yamaguchi, "Kristi, it does feel good."


Week no. Dance and song Judges' score Result
Inaba Goodman Tonioli
1 Foxtrot/ "Pride and Joy" 7 8 7 Safe
2 Mambo/ "Lupita" 9 9 9 Safe
3 Jive/ "I Got a Woman" 8 7 8 Safe
4 Viennese Waltz/ "It's a Man's Man's Man's World" 10 9 10 Safe
5 Rumba/ "You're All I Need To Get By" 9 9 9 Safe
6 Cha-Cha-Cha/ "Best of My Love" 8 8 8 Safe
7 Quickstep/ "The Dirty Boogie"
Paso Doble/ "Heavy Action"
8 Tango/ "Tango Barbaro"
Samba/ "It Had Better Be Tonight"
Last to be Called Safe
Foxtrot/ "Let's Call The Whole Thing Off"
Paso Doble/ "El Gato Montes"
Cha-Cha-Cha/ "Dancing on the Ceiling"
Freestyle/ "Miami"
Quickstep/ "The Dirty Boogie"

Charity work

In 2004 Taylor and his wife Katina founded the Jason Taylor Foundation with the goal of improving the lives of children in South Florida. The foundation has launched the Jason Taylor Reading Room, an after-school program aimed at increasing literacy among inner city children; renamed the Holtz Children's Hospital's learning center as "The Jason Taylor Children's Learning Center"; provided eleven sixth-grade students with college scholarships through the Take Stock in Children organization; created the "Big Screens-Big Dreams" program to screen inspirational films for hundreds of student-athletes; and furnished 60 children with $300 back-to-school shopping certificates as part of the "Cool Gear for the School Year" program.

Taylor has also partnered with the Invicta Watch Group and its CEO, Eyal Lalo, on a number of charitable ventures and was given the opportunity to create a collection of limited edition of watches. He said, "As a watch enthusiast and collector, I am excited to be partnering with Invicta on the development and launch of my collection of watches."[20]

Personal life

Taylor and his ex-wife Katina, who is the sister of Taylor's former teammate Zach Thomas, have three children: sons Isaiah and Mason, and daughter Zoey. Katina filed for divorce twice in 2006, citing irreconcilable differences and asking for custody of the children, but withdrew the petitions both times.[21] The couple quietly divorced in Key West, Florida in 2015. Taylor lives in the Fort Lauderdale suburb of Plantation.[22] Taylor's sister Joy Taylor is the moderator on The Herd with Colin Cowherd on Fox Sports 1.


  1. "Jason Taylor", Pro Football Reference, archived from the original on January 8, 2011, retrieved January 8, 2011
  2. "NFL Most Career Forced Fumbles". www.Sporcle.com. Retrieved May 17, 2017.
  3. "NFL Career Fumble Return TD Leaders", Pro Football Reference, archived from the original on January 8, 2011, retrieved January 8, 2011
  4. Loh, Stefanie (June 5, 2011). "GOING DEEP: QnA with NFL veteran Jason Taylor, a homeschooled Pennsylvania native". The Patriot-News. Retrieved March 19, 2015.
  5. "NFL Official Profile page", National Football League, retrieved August 30, 2011
  6. "South Florida". Sun-sentinel.com. Archived from the original on October 10, 2008. Retrieved March 3, 2009.
  7. Miami Herald.com "Parcells-Taylor impasse slows building process"
  8. ibid
  9. "Pro Football Talk.com". Pro Football Talk.com. February 18, 2009. Retrieved March 3, 2009.
  10. "Redskins get DE Taylor from Dolphins after Daniels goes down". NFL.com. July 28, 2008. Retrieved March 3, 2009.
  11. Redskins Release Six-Time Pro Bowl Defensive End Taylor Yahoo Sports, March 2, 2009
  12. "Former Dolphins linebacker Taylor joining Jets". ESPN.com. April 20, 2010. Retrieved May 17, 2017.
  13. "NFL All-Time Sacks Leaders - National Football League - ESPN". ESPN.com. Retrieved May 17, 2017.
  14. Jets cut Damien Woody, ESPN, February 28, 2011, archived from the original on March 2, 2011, retrieved February 28, 2011
  15. "The NFL Foundation Board". National Football League Foundation. Retrieved February 7, 2015.
  16. "Jason Taylor Stats". ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures. Retrieved 27 June 2014.
  17. "Dancing with the Stars Week 5: Jason Taylor Dances Rumba". TV.Popcrunch.com. April 15, 2008. Archived from the original on January 11, 2009. Retrieved March 3, 2009.
  18. "Dancing With The Stars: Week 6". TV Squad.com. April 21, 2008. Retrieved March 3, 2009.
  19. "Dancing with the Stars Week 7: Jason Taylor Quickstep Paso Doble". Tv.popcrunch.com. April 29, 2008. Archived from the original on January 12, 2009. Retrieved March 3, 2009.
  20. "Taylor Designs watch collection". South Florida Business Journal. November 6, 2012.
  21. Jason Taylor Almost Quit Archived 2009-03-27 at the Wayback Machine. Florida Sun-Sentinel, June 21, 2007.
  22. Salguero, Armando (February 2, 2017). "As the Hall of Fame vote nears, Jason Taylor reflects on family, football and fame". Miami Herald. Retrieved August 6, 2017.
Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Mel B & Maksim Chmerkovskiy
Dancing with the Stars (US) runner up
Season 6 (Spring 2008 with Edyta Śliwińska)
Succeeded by
Warren Sapp & Kym Johnson
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