Jason Taylor made his career on the football field, with most of his 15 seasons in the NFL coming with the Miami Dolphins.
He’s a Hall of Famer, a six-time Pro Bowler and the Dolphins’ career leader in sacks (131) and defensive fumble recoveries (27).
But last year, he added a new title to his resume: assistant high school coach.
Taylor, 43, spent last year coaching at South Florida powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas, helping the Raiders go 10-3 but miss out on a chance to win a fourth straight state championship after falling to Venice in the Class 7A state semifinal.
With the 2018 season on the horizon — a mere five weeks away — Taylor is ready for his second year on the sidelines.
“I love it,” Taylor said Tuesday on WQAM’s Joe Rose Show. “I had a great time doing it last year. I told myself going in that I would be committed to it because that’s how I am, but the kids have fun and it’s football. I can’t help it. It’s in my blood.”
Taylor said he feeds off the energy and enjoys the opportunity to teach the next generation of football players.
But the highly intense former defensive lineman said there is always the occasional moment where he finds it hard to hold back his emotions.
“I try to internalize a lot of that,” said Taylor, who last week was named to the Dolphins’ 2018 Walk of Fame class. “I don’t cuss at the kids. I don’t believe in that. I keep my cool and approach it as a game. .... One thing the kids know is I’m a stickler for details and effort. Effort overcomes a lot of things. You can be in the wrong gap, have the wrong hands down, take a wrong step, but one thing a coach can’t coach is effort.”
Taylor also has had a chance to groom players who very well could continue their football careers in South Florida. Three of Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas’ top senior defenders — linebacker Anthony Solomon, linebacker Avery Huff and defensive end Jason Munoz — are Miami Hurricanes commits.
“The great thing is that The U is kind of back on the map,” Taylor said. “They’re picking up kids here locally. That’s how they’ve won historically is getting guys out of Florida, particularly kids in their own backyard and having the chance to get guys that want to be there No. 1 [and] that are good enough to come in and play right away. It’s big. I like that some of these kids make up their mind before the season. It gives them the chance to relax and not be as stressed with the recruiting process and then spend the rest of the senior year doing their thing.”