HOUSTON -- Tom Brady is going to be busy on Sunday.
His New England Patriots will be playing the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI at NRG Stadium. But before he began preparations for this championship game and indeed, before he returned from his NFL imposed four-game suspension earlier this season, Brady sat down and wrote an endorsement letter for Jason Taylor to get into the Hall of Fame.
Taylor sacked Brady more times than any other quarterback -- 11 1/2 sacks in 20 career games. And at the time of Taylor’s retirement in 2011, Brady had been sacked more times by Taylor than any other defensive player.
And while that might have led the exceedingly competitive duo to dislike each other, it actually led them to a very mutual respect and friendship.
And so Brady gladly shared with Hall of Fame selectors how outstanding Taylor was in his day from the perspective of someone who felt the defensive end’s wrath:
“The games against Jason are some of most (well, maybe least) memorable,” Brady wrote. “He is one of the greatest opponents I’ve ever faced, having had the “pleasure” of looking across the line and seeing him on the opposite side of the ball, not once, but twice each season for a decade. While I entered the league with a healthy respect for Jason and the incredibly talented Miami defense he led, my admiration for him as a player and a person only continued to grow with each play; each game; each season.
“The word I typically used to describe Jason was tenacious. His effort was second to none. Regardless of the situation, Jason came after me with the same reckless abandon on each and every snap, getting to his taget often. I remember hearing once that he sacked me more than any other quarterback in the NFL, a painful badge of honor for myself. Jason was incredible agains tthe run as well and never took a play off.”
New England coach Bill Belichick didn’t write a letter of endorsement for Taylor. But he has made no secret of his respect for Taylor and that was also on display for Hall of Fame selectors.
“I coached more games against Jason Taylor than any other player in my career and I’m sure he was probably the one who ruined the most games,” Belichick said. “Jason was a relentless competitor and a true game-changer for how he disrupted our offense and forced us to game plan for him. He was a remarkable player.”
Armando Salguero on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero