The majority of the focus for the Miami Dolphins and their fans the past couple of days has rightfully been on the team’s quarterback situation. Ryan Tannehill’s knee injury has spiraled things into chaos, and the rumors and speculation only continue to grow. But, even as all of that is going on, there is another big Miami Dolphins thing happening this week - and one we cannot let fall off the radar.
Jason Taylor officially becomes a Hall of Fame player this weekend.
Tonight, in fact, he gets his Gold Jacket!
It will be great to see Taylor recognized for his amazing career. As part of the case for his being a Hall of Fame selection this year - his first year of eligibility - the selection committee considered a letter from the Dolphins’ - and Taylor’s - division rival, the New England Patriots, specifically from quarterback Tom Brady. That letter, which was published by Miami’s NBC 6 Sports back in February, reads:
“The Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony is an event I look forward to watching each summer. To see the players I’ve idolized and had the opportunity to compete against receive their invitation into the most exclusive fraternity our game has to offer is very special. Their nomination gives me a chance to reflect on their careers, the battles we have had, and the respect that I hold for them.
"My purpose in writing this letter, however, is to focus on one particular player who, without a doubt in my mind, deserves his place in Canton: Jason Taylor.
"The games against Jason are some of my most (well, maybe least) memorable. He is one of the greatest players I’ve ever faced, having had the “pleasure” of looking across the line and seeing him on the opposite side of the ball, not once, but twice each season for a decade. While I entered the league with a health respect for Jason and the Miami defense he led, my admiration for him as a player and a person only grew with each play, each game, each season.
"The word I typically used to describe Jason was tenacious. His effort was second to none. Regardless of the situation, Jason came after me with the same reckless abandon on each and every snap, getting to his target often. I remember hearing once he sacked me more than any quarterback in the NFL, a painful badge of honor for me. Jason was equally as incredible against the run and never took a play off.
"Sure he was an explosive, athletic player, but it was his fierce tenacity that made him one of the league’s most dominant players for 15 years, and the reason we were on high alert every time No. 99 was in his pass rush stance.
"Coach Belichick and the rest of the staff have a reputation for game planning against a team’s strengths. Perhaps the biggest compliment I can pay Jason is the amount of hours we spent watching game film over the years and going over what we needed to neutralize him. I can’t say we ever came up with a great answer.
"I don’t envy the challenge you have in selecting the all-time best from a group of so many great players who will make up this year’s Hall of Fame class. With that said, I will tell you from my personal experience Jason is one of them.
"Thank you for your time and consideration.”
Dolphins fans know how special JT was throughout his career - including the year he was with the Washington Redskins and the year he was wearing those hideous green colors of the New York Jets - but it is great to see that his opponents saw it too. Brady writing an incredible endorsement of Taylor really is a sign that the defensive end will take his rightful place this weekend in Canton.