“I will always love the Miami Dolphins,” Jason Taylor said after they beat the Jets 19-17 on Sunday.
And we will always love him.
There never was a classier figure in the glorious history of this franchise. That covers a world of classy figures — Don Shula, Bob Griese, Dan Marino, Dwight Stephenson and a passel of others.
Maybe there were more dominant players than Taylor. I’m not at all sure.
Most of the great Dolphins have been surrounded by great teams. Taylor never was. He was almost always the best player out there.
He might be the only player I have ever seen who never jaked a single play.
Well, besides his brother-in-law, Zach Thomas.
Even the Jets were saluting Taylor. And when was any Dolphin ever more salubriously saluted than that?
Then there was something coach Todd Bowles said. “You can’t have a career like Jason without being the same person every day,” Bowles said.
Some players turn chameleon. They’re here one day, there tomorrow. They flip-flop. Taylor’s heart was always in the same place. He might not always have been entirely agreeable, but he was always honest. And maybe he will be again. Because I’m not altogether sure he’s gone.
Oh, I know he means it when he says it. I know he’s 37, with more bruises than any one pelt should have to endure.
I know the Dolphins consider him retired as of today. I just keep hoping not.
One other thing, for people who still think Jason is arrogant.
A humble guy
“No, he’s really such a humble guy,” Bowles said. “He’s never up and down. He’s steady. He’s solid. He’s a star off the field. He’s a great human being. He’s a great friend.
“You can never say enough about this guy.”
How often do you hear more said than that?
“I wish he could stick around because I’m just picking his brain every day,” Brandon Marshall said. “I’m asking him about business. I’m asking him about life. How to be a better professional. There’s no one better. I’ve been around Champ Bailey, John Lynch, Jake Plummer, Mike Shanahan, and there’s no one better.”
Agreed. No one is better than Jason Taylor.
You said just one thing wrong, Jason — when you said, “You guys don’t want to hear me anymore.”
I do. And I absolutely refuse to hang crepe all over his goodbye. Jason Taylor should go out the way he played, in a blare of bugles, a ruffle of drums.
A great player is passing by.