Jason Taylor goes second on Hall of Fame induction night, and his speech has been “99 percent done” for weeks now.
“It’s never done, done,” Taylor said recently. “I’m sure it’ll be tweaked between now and Saturday. ... Great players are obsessive. We’re always tweaking and thinking — ‘Oh, what about this person? I need to change this order.’ My goal was kind of leave it alone, let it become what it is and be able to get it all out. I don’t want to keep copy/pasting, moving stuff around.”
While the I’s still might be dotted right up until Taylor takes the stage here Saturday night, the message has been set for some time.
Taylor, the greatest pass rusher in Dolphins history, didn’t want to reveal too much about his prepared remarks, but did recently tell the Miami Herald its general theme:
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“It’s a whole lot of thank yous and typical Hall of Fame stuff. There are so many people to thank after 15 years in the pros and seven years of playing in college and high school. But the general theme is to show appreciation and the amazement that I was able to take the journey I did.”
Taylor, who’s going into the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility, will have a chance to thank a lot of those people personally. George Novak, Taylor’s high school coach who first convinced him to play football, will be in attendance.
So will dozens of teammates from the University of Akron and the Miami Dolphins. Even Dolphins CEO Tom Garfinkel and general manager Chris Grier plan to attend Saturday.
“It’ll be great,” Taylor said. “This is a very big deal for professional athletes. As the guys that I talked to that are in the Hall -- Bruce Smith and Chris Doleman and Emmitt [Smith] and Dan [Marino] and those guys -- [they told me] just to take it all in.”
Taylor continued: “Sit back and enjoy it. Take it all in. It’s going to be crazy, it’s going to be busy. Going to be pulled in a million different directions, but as they said, this is all about you. We’ll be there to support you as Hall of Famers, but this is all about you, you and the other six inductees. Let it shine bright.”
The lights come on Saturday night.