The free agent linebacker and six-time Pro Bowl pick with the
Miami Dolphins met with the New York Jets for a second straight day
Thursday as coach Rex Ryan tried to add the NFL’s active sacks
leader to last season’s top-ranked defense.
“Hopefully we can bring him along for the ride,” linebacker
Calvin Pace said. “I think it would be a great situation for
The 35-year-old Taylor, who visited with his wife, Katina,
headed home to Weston, Fla., without a deal in place, according to
Jets spokesman Bruce Speight. Taylor will take the weekend at the
earliest before deciding on whether to sign with New York.
The former “Dancing With the Stars” contestant – he
finished runner-up to Kristi Yamaguchi in 2008 – has had a
contentious relationship with Jets fans during his 13-year career,
calling them ignorant and classless.
“I think our fans would embrace him,” defensive end Shaun
Ellis said. “They know the type of player he is. There may be some
fans who wouldn’t at first, but after a few weeks and he was on our
team, I think they’d be really excited just to add another part
like that to our defense.”
Added Pace: “I think once he puts the green and white on,
all that other stuff will be in the past.”
Taylor has expressed a desire to remain with the Dolphins,
where he has spent 12 of his 13 NFL seasons. Miami general manager
Jeff Ireland said the team will wait until after the draft before
deciding whether to make an offer, but Taylor’s visit with the Jets
raises the possibility he might make a decision before then.
“I’m not going to air our business through the media,”
Ireland said of Taylor and his agent, Gary Wichard. “They know
exactly our stance. … We have to evaluate things after the draft.
That’s where we’re at.”
The 2006 Defensive Player of the Year with 127 1/2 career
sacks would provide the Jets with a proven pass rusher and might
fit right into Ryan’s aggressive scheme.
“He can do a lot of different things: drop in coverage, rush
the passer and he’s pretty good against the run,” Pace said. “I
think it would be pretty positive for us.”
While his best days are clearly behind him, Taylor still has
plenty left. He had seven sacks, an interception, three forced
fumbles and a fumble return for a touchdown last season.
Taylor played with the Dolphins from 1997-2007 before playing
one season in Washington. He returned to Miami last season with a
one-year contract, and said he wanted to keep playing, preferably
with the Dolphins, rather than retire.
“I know I can play,” Taylor said at an event for his
foundation in January. “It’s just a matter of being in the right
situation. It’s a business, and we’ll see what direction it takes
Several Jets players met Taylor on Thursday in the weight
room, including Pace. The Jets showed him around the facility and
took him on a helicopter tour of Manhattan and the new Meadowlands
Stadium. Even newly signed running back LaDainian Tomlinson has
been part of the recruiting process.
“I pitched my part in trying to get him here,” Tomlinson
said. “Hopefully, things get done because we can definitely use
Tomlinson, who signed with the Jets last month after nine
seasons with San Diego, said Taylor gave no indication of his
“I think this is the perfect fit for him,” Tomlinson said.
“When you think about it, and Jason’s obviously thinking about it,
he probably can see himself being here. I think we’ve got a great
shot of getting him.”
When asked if he could say one thing to Taylor, cornerback
Darrelle Revis smiled and said: “Sign! Sign with us!”
Outside linebacker Bryan Thomas said he had no idea the Jets
were interested in Taylor until he saw him walking into the
facility Thursday. If the Jets sign Taylor, Thomas could become
expendable after just two sacks last year – his lowest total since
he had 1 1/2 in 2004.
“If that’s something they feel like they’re doing to improve
the team, then I’m all for it,” Thomas said. “I’m not going to
hate on him or nothing. … I’m just going to work hard no matter
Thomas has maintained his starting role on the Jets, despite
the team bringing in players to challenge him, including former No.
1 draft pick Vernon Gholston, who has no sacks in two NFL seasons.
“I just found out today, so I might go and talk to my agent
to see what’s going on,” Thomas said.