Best Dolphins Player (2007)

Jason Taylor

Number 99, Jason Taylor, came oh-so-close to retiring, following the Fins' abysmal season, and treacherous Nick Saban's absconding to Alabama. Thank goodness he didn't. Despite participating in an excruciating 6-10 losing record, the NFL's defensive player of the year recorded thirteen-and-a-half sacks, forced ten fumbles, and snagged two interceptions, both of which he returned for touchdowns, including an acrobatic doozey against Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brad Johnson. Down by a field goal, Taylor shed a blocker and intercepted Johnson's screen pass. Taylor then jaunted 51 yards to the end zone, untouched, for the clinching touchdown. Surprisingly Taylor did not return any fumbles for touchdowns in 2006, his specialty since his rookie year. In fact Taylor holds the Dolphins team record for the most career touchdown fumble returns and most career touchdowns by a Dolphins lineman. In many ways Taylor's success on the field has somewhat deflected attention from the star defensive end's tumultuous personal life. His wife, Katina, filed for divorce this past July. Four months earlier, Redmond Charles Burns, a 24-year-old Davie resident, attacked Taylor with a knife during a road rage incident on State Road 84 and Flamingo Road. Despite his troubles Taylor's charismatic candor has made him a media and fan favorite. During a media conference call before the Dolphins' season finale against the Indianapolis Colts, an outspoken Taylor commented against San Diego Chargers Shawn Merriman's candidacy for the defensive player award, noting that Merriman was suspended for four games during the season for testing positive for a banned substance. Taylor suggested that Merriman winning the award would send the wrong message to those who look up to NFL players. This past January 7, during an NFL telecast, Taylor assured Dolfans he wasn't going anywhere. "The day Tom Brady outruns (me), I'll retire," Taylor quipped. "But that day's not going to come quick."


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