As you probably know already, thanks to Seth Levit - the Executive Director of the Jason Taylor Foundation - I was able to score a Q&A with Dolphins LB Jason Taylor. I posted part one of the interview yesterday - and you can quickly jump to it by clicking here. The conclusion of the interview is below.
I do just want to quickly point out that if you are interested in learning more about the Jason Taylor Foundation, head on over to the foundation's website - where you can stay up to date on upcoming events as well as contribute to his charity a number of different ways.
Matty: If the Dolphins decided against bringing you back for whatever reason, where do you think you would have ended up? Would retirement have then been something you considered?
Jason: "I’ve never been the kind of guy to wonder about what could have been. Ultimately what matters to me is that things worked out the way they did and I’m where I want to be. As for retirement, I think it’s the type of thing every player who has been in the league for a while thinks about each offseason. But this dog can still hunt and I’m excited about this season!"
Matty: There were rumors that every team in the AFC East had contacted you or your agent and had interest in signing you. Do you honestly think you could have signed with a division rival if the Dolphins didn’t have any interest?
Jason: "Let’s just say it would have been really difficult looking at myself wearing certain colors."
Matty: What do you make of the "trash talking" that has gone on already within the division – especially Rex Ryan’s comments about Channing Crowder? Do you think a head coach should ever antagonize an opposing player the way Ryan has gone out of his way to antagonize Channing?
Jason: "I don’t make much of it at all…especially not in May and June. Look, there is nothing Channing or Rex Ryan - or anyone else for that matter - can say that will impact what happens once the ball is kicked off on October 12. The two of them had some fun with it and the media certainly ran with it, but it couldn’t be any more of a non-story."
Matty: How is your relationship with the current Dolphins regime - especially Bill Parcells and Tony Sparano?
Jason: "Things have been going very well. Obviously we have far more interaction with Tony and the rest of the coaches on a day to day basis than with Bill. Tony and I have gotten along well going back to last year and I could tell back then that I would enjoy playing for him. He and his coaching staff continue to impress me daily and I’m looking forward to playing for these guys."
Matty: How have the OTAs been going? Do you have a lot to catch up on in terms of the defensive system? More importantly, do you feel more like your old self again in regards to your body and your health?
Jason: "OTAs and mini-camps are what they are…a bunch of guys running around in their pajamas. They are a good opportunity to get in the right frame of mind, learn the system and get to know your teammates, but they are a far cry from football. But so far, so good. A lot of what I will be doing is similar to what I was asked to do with…and I know his name isn’t very popular with your readers, but…with Nick, so there is a level of comfort. There are a lot of drops into coverage, but that is coming along."
Matty: You have had many magical moments as a member of the Dolphins. Which one stands out the most in your mind when you think back to your previous 11 seasons in Miami?
Jason: "Wow! There are so many memories, it’s too hard to pick just one. There have been some great games, amazing victories and certainly, and unfortunately, some very memorable losses as well. Believe it or not, though, some of the memories that stand out the most never happened on Sundays. The times I shared with my teammates, the funny stories at training camp, crazy things that may have happened in a meeting room, or the weight room or on a team charter – those are the things that really stand out. I have been fortunate enough to play with an incredible group of guys – guys like Dan Marino, Zach Thomas, Tim Bowens, Vonnie Holiday, Junior Seau, Trace Armstrong, Derrick Rodgers, Sam Madison, Patrick Surtain, O.J. McDuffie…I could go on and on. The magical moments with those guys are endless."
Matty: Is there anything you'd like to say to all of us Dolphin fans out there who are just thrilled to have you back?
Jason: I am every bit as thrilled to be back with them as I hope they are to have me back. For 11 years, and really even during the past year when I wasn’t playing here, they have been the most supportive, loyal group of fans I could ever ask for. They supported my efforts on the field and in the community and that will never be lost on me.
I sincerely want to thank both Jason and Seth for helping put this together. It was a thrill and an honor to me.