Perhaps the biggest offseason development in 2009 was the return of Dolphins legend Jason Taylor to Miami. Well thanks to Seth Levit, the Executive Director of the Jason Taylor Foundation, I was able to score a Q&A with Jason.
Needless to say, this is one of the best moments in this site's existence. After all, it's not every day that you get a chance to interview one of the franchise's greatest players ever. So I am sincerely thankful to Seth for helping me get this opportunity and to Jason for taking time out of his day to share his thoughts.
The Q&A has been broken down into two parts. Part one is below. Part two will be posted on Thursday. Both parts are definitely worth a few minutes of your time to read.
Matty: Last offseason, the media made it seem like you and Bill Parcells didn't get along. But I get the feeling that wasn't exactly the truth, but rather was the spin that the media put on the situation. From your standpoint, what was the major cause of the perceived "drama" that unfolded, which lead to the trade to Washington?
Jason: "You are absolutely correct in that sometimes things tend to get blown out of proportion in the media, especially when they get reported over and over again and each time someone is picking something up from something else they read or heard, rather than getting it directly from the source. And in this day in age, with talk radio, the internet, blogs, etc. everything becomes magnified. At times, people react or even believe comments on a blog or from a caller on a radio show, which is wild. Having said that, every year in this league you have changes. When teams lose, they make changes at the top and it’s a domino effect from there. Some of those changes are smoother than others, but in the end it’s something that has been happening in the NFL for a long, long time."
Matty: You clearly didn't perform up to your usual standards last season in Washington. What do you attribute your "un-JT-like" 2008 to? Was it your injury? Was it the system or your role in the system? Or wasn't something else altogether?
Jason: "Well, I really don’t believe in making excuses, so let me start with that. Mr. Snyder and the Redskins paid me a lot of money to perform at a high level and regardless of the circumstances it was my job to deliver. There were, however, some contributing factors because it’s never just one thing that leads to a player’s success or struggles. I did get hurt and had to deal with two in-season surgeries, which really presented a challenge, especially since I had gone so long without missing a game. As for the system, a lot of teams have had a lot of success running a system similar to what the Redskins run, so I can’t be critical of it. Having said that, I am excited to be playing in the system we are running here in Miami."
Matty: How much did you follow what was going on in Miami while you were a member of the Redskins?
Jason: "As much as possible. I think at this point it has been well documented, but I stayed in close communication with guys like Ronnie, Joey, Channing and some others who I played with and am close with. I even sent Coach Sparano text messages from time to time to let him know how happy I was for him. As I’ve said before, there was no bigger Dolphins fan than me last year."
Matty: At what point following your release from the Redskins did you know you wanted to come back to Miami? Was there ever any doubt that you would eventually return to the Dolphins?
Jason: "I can’t really pin-point a specific date or time, but I can tell you that it became very clear to me that I was ready to be a Dolphin again. Was their doubt? I’ve learned not to worry about the things I can’t control, but once the offer came it didn’t take me long to accept it."
Matty: What is it about this franchise and this city that you love so much?
Jason: "South Florida took us in and has treated us like family for 12 years. I say 12 because even when I left, the community continued to support me, my family and our Foundation. So this is home. I love the people, the city, the water, the culture, the restaurants…everything about being here. As for the team, I think it’s pretty simple. The Dolphins took a chance on me way back in 1997 and helped me live out so many of my dreams. The franchise is rich with tradition, is always run with class and despite our rough times a few years ago, I still believe this team is one of the marquee brands the NFL has under its shield."
Again, I'd like to thank both Jason and Seth. And if you want to learn more about the work Jason is doing with his foundation, be sure to head to the official website of the Jason Taylor Foundation.
Be sure to come back here on Thursday for part two of our Jason Taylor Q&A.