Jason Taylor still has the itch to play, thinks Ryan Tannehill can be a good player, and, even now, really doesn’t much care for Bill Parcells.
As for mounting a public-relations campaign to earn entry into the Pro Football Hall of Fame?
The Dolphins’ all-time sack leader, now approaching his second year of retirement, will leave that up to others.
“I’ll let you guys talk about it,” Taylor said Tuesday. “I try to leave it alone. If it happens, great.”
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Instead of talking legacy Tuesday, when he addressed the weekly Miami Dolphins Touchdown Club luncheon, Taylor preferred to discuss the here and now.
Taylor, a member of the Dolphins Honor Roll, held court on a host of issues — mostly about his life after football, and the direction his old team has taken since he has been gone.
• On Tannehill, who has struggled in recent weeks after a fast start to his career: “It’s going to take time to grow. He needs weapons around him. [They] got rid of one of the best receivers in the game and [didn’t] replace him,” referring to Brandon Marshall.
• On Cameron Wake and his 14 sacks through 13 games: “If I was starting a team and I needed a defensive end, he’d be the first guy I’d call.”
• On coach Joe Philbin, who has gone 5-8 in his uneven first season in Miami: “I think he’s doing a good job. It’s so tough to tell on these guys early. The problem with the NFL these days, whether it’s ownership, fans, players, everybody lacks patience. … At some point, you’ve got to commit to somebody and sit back and relax and wait.”
Taylor seemed to be a buyer of the Dolphins’ future, but clearly, some of his wounds from the past still have not healed.
He remains “not the biggest Bill Parcells fan,” Taylor said of the Dolphins’ former football czar who dumped the popular pass-rusher not once, but twice.
Taylor blasted Parcells for his “lack of building for the future, and the lack of commitment on his part.”
Taylor always has had a knack for making his point, and that has gotten him work after retirement. He is an in-studio analyst for ESPN, and the job has given him a glimpse of life after football: Hanging around fellow ex-players, sharing stories and talking about the NFL.
He also remains active in his charitable foundation, and on Monday, he will host his annual ping-pong tournament at Hard Rock Live. Proceeds will go to programs that help provide healthcare, education and quality of life support to in-need South Florida children.
Still, he conceded, none of that can touch playing on Sundays, which he readily admitted he misses.
“You can’t replace it,” Taylor said. “You can’t replace those guys, that locker room. That fire, that fight you go through every week. You miss the stress, the pressure and even the [bleeps] in the media.”
Well, Taylor is part of that media horde now, even if he still sounds like a player.
When asked whether he could still strap on pads, two years shy of 40 and 12 months since his last live hit, Taylor said yes — and pointed to proof. Patriots receiver Donte’ Stallworth was out of football for most of this season, but in his first action of the year Monday night, caught a 63-yard touchdown pass. (It should be noted that Stallworth was placed on injured reserve the following day with an ankle issue.)
“Any time I see a quarterback with the ball in his hands, I get the itch,” Taylor said. “I could play those three hours, but it would take a lot of days to come back from it.”
As for one last return to football, perhaps joining a playoff-bound team for a few months to again chase that elusive Super Bowl ring?
“No, man,” Taylor said with a chuckle, but then hinted that the decision isn’t entirely his. “My cell phone isn’t ringing.”