Miami Dolphins  

 

Taylor says he's playing one more year, open to trade

  • By Associated Press
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HOLLYWOOD, Fla. -- Jason Taylor wanted to clear the air on numerous topics.

No, he did not demand a trade from the Miami Dolphins. Yes, he wants to play one more season before moving on to an acting career. No, he still hasn't spoken with new Dolphins boss Bill Parcells. Yes, he believes Tony Sparano will be a good coach in Miami. No, he doesn't regret missing workouts to appear on ABC's "Dancing with the Stars." Yes, he desperately wants to leave football a winner.

But on one issue -- whether he will he be at training camp with the Dolphins next month -- Taylor showed he can dance while seated, too.

Al Bello / Getty Images
Jason Taylor took down opposing quarterbacks 11 times last season.

"Do I want to be here? Yeah, I'd love to be here," Taylor said Sunday morning while seated on the top level of an arena in Hollywood -- the South Florida suburb, that is, not the moviemaking capital that has piqued his interest considerably in recent weeks and will likely beckon once he retires. "I would love to be a Dolphin and win games and have it work out for everybody. But that may not be the case."

So the mystery of whether the six-time Pro Bowl defensive end has played his last game for Miami will live on, at least a bit longer.

Taylor seemed to be choosing his words carefully in a 30-minute question-and-answer session, especially when it came to the particularly thorny notion of the Dolphins trading him elsewhere.

He denied widespread reports suggesting his side has demanded a trade, but finally acknowledged what has been suspected for weeks: If Miami wants to move him, he won't argue.

"I want to win in '08. That's what I want to do," Taylor said. "And I've told the Dolphins from Day 1 that was my intention. My intentions right now are to play one more year. I've tried to give the Dolphins the opportunity, if they wanted to do something and move me, then I was OK with that. If they can get value for me, then do that. That was the conversation we had behind closed doors a long time ago."

But since that conversation, the relationship between Taylor and Parcells has seemed to spiral toward broken.

The Dolphins clearly weren't happy that Taylor missed offseason workouts for "Dancing with the Stars." He'll miss another organized team activity day on Monday, when he hosts a charity golf tournament to benefit his foundation, which works with children and is highly active in South Florida. He'll miss minicamp this weekend, too, for both his brother's graduation and an unspecified legal matter.

And on May 21, Sparano -- part of the huge overhaul after Miami's 1-15 season a year ago -- added even more drama.

Without offering much in the way of details, Sparano said Taylor would not be with the team for any minicamps or training camp.

"I'm glad we know this and we've gotten the information," Sparano said at the time, and neither he nor Parcells nor general manager Jeff Ireland has addressed it since.

So on Sunday, Taylor offered a sliver of his side on that story -- but again, stopping short of revealing all the details.

"I think what he was trying to accomplish was a little different than what may have came out," said Taylor, who met with Sparano last week. "But what Tony and I talk about closed doors, I think, needs to stay that way."

Some of what has gone on behind those doors, though, has leaked out.

Most notably came this encounter: During a trip back to Miami while "Dancing" was still going on, Taylor visited the Dolphins' offices while Parcells was watching tape. Parcells barely acknowledged Taylor when his defensive end entered the room, and within seconds turned all his attention back to the tape.

"Did it happen? Yeah," Taylor said. "But I'm not going to talk further about it."

The Dolphins have not commented about Taylor since May 21. Sparano vowed he would not address the issue further after that day.

"It would be real great to be able to learn from him and play against him because he's one of the best in the game," Dolphins offensive lineman Jake Long, the No. 1 overall pick in this year's draft, said Saturday at the team's annual charity fishing tournament. "So I'm really excited for that chance. Hopefully it happens."

It still might.

Taylor has spent all 11 of his NFL seasons with the Dolphins, winning defensive player of the year honors in 2006. But the Dolphins -- who haven't made the playoffs in six seasons and haven't gotten past the divisional round since Taylor arrived -- are rebuilding, once again.

Taylor's brother-in-law and longtime defensive teammate, Zach Thomas, was released in February and ultimately signed with the Dallas Cowboys. (Taylor called Thomas' departure disappointing Sunday.) Parcells is in the midst of shaking up the entire roster. And it's probably a safe bet that the process of making Miami a winner again will last longer than Taylor's anticipated one-year window.

"At 34 years old, you start to count your days a little more and cherish the days a little more," said Taylor, who turns 34 on Sept. 1. "I think that Bill and Tony and Jeff will be the right guys for the job. And how quickly this turns around here? I don't know. We'll see."

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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