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The Idea of Leadership

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I really don't want to continue to harp on this Jason Taylor crap, but there's an interesting angle in all of this that I wanted to touch on.  I saw this fanpost by "jvw" and it got me thinking.  Should Taylor even be considered a leader anymore?  Or are his "Hollywood dreams" getting in the way?

Taylor writes in his ESPN.com blog:

I know what the reaction's going to be: Oh, he's the leader of that team, and he needs to be there. But, see, there're different types of leadership in sports. There're guys that can talk all the time, and try to lead by saying: "Oh, this is what we need to do, let's go, rah, rah rah.'' They're rah-rah guys. And then they're guys, like me, who lead by example. And people are saying now, "Your example should be being there working out with the team.'' Well, at the end of the day, I will show up and I will do anything I need to do, and I will be the best football player I can be.

Now to me, leading by example means just that: leading by your actions.  And it shouldn't matter if it's the off-season, training camp, or the regular season.  A true leader does indeed lead all the time.

However, while most (if not all) of the veterans will be attending a "voluntary" mini-camp this weekend, Jason will not.  Instead, he'll be in Las Vegas attending a birthday party for Mark Ballas and Derek Hough.  Who are Ballas and Hough?  I had that same question.  Upon looking it up, I learned they are both professional dancers from Dancing With The Stars.  And while there are a million jokes you can probably make here, I'll just leave it alone.

Moving along, I now present to you Zach Thomas, Jason's brother-in-law and one of the most beloved Dolphins of all time (who is now in Dallas).  Oh, and he's also a true leader.  Thomas says of leadership:

"Leadership is shown by actions. If you're making plays and doing everything the right way - doing what they're telling you to do in the weight room, showing up for everything, being consistent and being accountable - that's leadership."

Do you hear that, Jason?  Are you doing what they're telling you to do in the weight room?  Are you showing up for everything? 

Again, I'm not bashing Jason Taylor, the football player.  He's easily one of my top 5 favorite players of all-time, and this won't change that.  He's also a borderline Hall of Famer who needs just another great year or two to book his spot in Canton.

I'm also not bashing Jason Taylor, the person.  He won the "Man of the Year" award and is constantly giving back to the community and such.  He's not only a great player, he's a great person.

What I am saying, though, is that if you buy into Zach Thomas' definition of leadership, Taylor is simply no longer a leader.  Good, bad, or indifferent, this just seems to be fact right now.  And I don't see how you can argue this at this point in time.  Things could change, for sure.  But right now, on May 21, Jason Taylor is no longer the leader of the Miami Dolphins.

Who is?  I have no idea.  And that's been one of this team's problems for years.  They've lacked leadership outside of the departed Zach Thomas and the "gone Hollywood" Jason Taylor ever since Dan Marino's retirement.  And now this team lacks leadership even more at a time when it's needed most.  So who steps up to fill this void? 

At this point, I have no idea.