One would think that Bill Parcells protege Tony Sparano would be all too eager to watch his aging Pro Bowler Jason Taylor dance off his roster for 2008. Especially considering the coach said as much to the media two weeks ago.
(Dolphins Coach Sparano suddenly ready to step in for Edyta?)
Not so, says the Dolphins head coach.
Sparano has stated publicly that the 11-year veteran would be welcomed back to Miami with open arms, whenever that might be, as he was quoted by Tim Graham at PALMBEACHPOST.COM - via WQAM-AM in Miami:
“But one of the issues that we really did want to get out there and I wanted to make a point to Jason about is we as an organization and, certainly me as a head coach, want to see Jason Taylor back here with the Miami Dolphins in uniform, out on the field, doing what he does best for the Miami Dolphins, and that’s running after quarterbacks and sacking quarterbacks.”
Taylor and Sparano met privately and, other than Sparano’s desire to have his most recognizable player return to camp, he remained mum on other details of the meeting:
“I think at the end of our visit, I know that Jason knows that that’s how I feel, and that’s we feel as an organization right now. Other than that, throughout the meeting, most of that will stay confidential between he and I.”
Taylor is arguably that team’s best player at arguably the game’s most important position. He’s too important to cut and probably too old to fetch fair value in a trade with another team. Sparano knows the message he’s sending to the rest of his team, and I’m sure the words he had for Taylor were less than family-friendly.
Taylor, on the other hand, is obviously not so eager to get back in uniform, and former NFL running back Eddie George has rallied to his cause:
“Jason is battling with a guy that I dealt with as a coach,” George said with a sympathetic wince. “It’s one of those deals.”
George is familiar with Taylor’s situation. The Heisman Trophy winner already had amassed 10,000 rushing yards and been to four Pro Bowls when he signed to play for Parcells with the Dallas Cowboys in 2004.
George never could connect with Parcells and was released after one season.
Disgusted with the game and dogged by injuries, George retired.
“If you’re not one of Bill’s guys, you’re not going to win,” George said. “So it looks like (Taylor) is not one of Bill’s guys and it may come to a point where he may end up somewhere else, and that’s not a bad thing.
“Bill likes to hand pick, go get the groceries, so to speak. That’s what Bill likes to do. It’s Bill’s program, and if Jason doesn’t fit in it, then he’s going to make sure (Taylor) knows that.”