Jason Taylor is in.
And he believes his good friend Zach Thomas should be too.
Taylor, one of seven members of the Hall of Fame’s Class of 2017, argued Thursday that Thomas, linebacker who played far bigger than his size, deserves a bust in Canton, too.
“To me, is he a Hall of Famer? Absolutely,” Taylor said. “Without Zach, there is no way in the world I’m standing here right now.”
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Taylor added: “There are a lot people that, like I said, made me who I am. There are a handful of guys that I’ve played with that are elite status as far as players, people, competitors, teammates, and Zach Thomas is No. 1 on that list. He made everybody that played with him better. “
Taylor, speaking to reporters nearly a week after his election to the Hall of Fame, also believes seven-time Pro Bowl tackle Richmond Webb is also a Hall of Famer. Webb was an all-pro four times.
Both Thomas, who was selected to the Pro Bowl seven times and recorded more than 1,100 career tackles, and Webb are members of the Dolphins Honor Roll.
Taylor, meanwhile, remains a bit shocked -- and a lot awed -- that he was voted in on the first ballot. His head has been swimming since Saturday night; Taylor said he hasn’t given much thought to who will present him or what he’ll say in his induction speech.
The list of rush ends to get in on their first try is short. Bruce Smith and Reggie White were the only two defensive ends who rank in the top 7 in career sacks to get their ticket punched in their first year of eligibility.
Now Taylor is the third.
“This is home,” Taylor said. “Even when I played for the Jets and Washington, this was always home.”
“My bust is going to be in Canton, but Sam Madison, Dan Marino, Patrick Surtain, Zach Thomas, Richmond Webb, ... they're all a piece of that bust as well.”
▪ Taylor was asked about Dolphins coach Adam Gase. His thoughts?
“I think Adam is great. ... After a rough start, he made some really tough moves for a head coach to make at that point in the season and you see the way the team responded. Are there holes to fill on the team? Sure, and I think he’d be the first to tell you. Obviously if you don’t win the championship, you have things that you need to correct. If you win the championship, the Patriots are working as we speak to correct things too. But they’re on the right path. It was great to see them in the playoffs. The excitement … It’s amazing the excitement that builds in this city when this football team is playing well.”