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Ex-Jaguar Taylor challenges fans, says team could be L.A.-bound

  • By NFL.com Wire Reports
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Former Jacksonville Jaguars running back Fred Taylor says the team might find itself in Los Angeles and jokingly said he was putting in a bid for a job.

Taylor, who played with the Jaguars from 1998 until being released after the 2008 season, challenged Jacksonville fans during a conference call Wednesday by saying the team probably would be better off moving.

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"Sometimes the truth hurts," said Taylor, who will have his first crack at his old team when his New England Patriots host the Jaguars on Sunday. "It can be played either way in that the fans want the team to stay there, they have to show that they want the team to stay there."

Taylor said the NFL has made it clear that a team eventually will be in Los Angeles, and he believes the Jaguars might be the choice because of their attendance problems.

"I don't know what's going to be a decision maker or breaker, but you look at average attendance and whatever have you at the end of the day, they're going to find a team to take out there," Taylor said. "I don't want to offend anyone. Never do, but you've got to be realistic."

Taylor fully practiced Wednesday for the first time since being sidelined by an ankle injury that required surgery. Taylor has missed 10 games, but he appears ready to return against the Jaguars.

Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio said Taylor always has been one to speak his mind.

"Fred has always been a great interview because he speaks straight from the heart and he's not trying to be politically correct," Del Rio said. "That's what he feels, and it's entertaining reading."

As far as any potential move goes, Del Rio said he will support whatever decision team owner Wayne Weaver makes.

"I'm an employee of his," Del Rio said. "Whatever he wants to do, my personal feelings are not part of it. My duty is to do the best I can in my role as head coach."

Before suggesting a possible Jaguars move to Los Angeles, Taylor found himself in a sparring match with Del Rio.

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Taylor, who is Jacksonville's all-time leading rusher with 11,271 yards, drew a rebuff from Del Rio after a Florida Times-Union report. Taylor said there is plenty of veteran leadership leading the way in New England, more film watching and quizzes with the Patriots than he experienced with the Jaguars.

"I saw (Taylor's comments), and I said that's really great because he pointed out the leadership there shows the way, and I think he was referring to veteran players," Del Rio said. "So, that's what we're looking to instill in our veteran players, and evidently he wasn't that veteran leader here having our guys watch the tape. So, we're going to work on getting the veteran leaders that are now here to have our guys watching more tape because he provided the blueprint."

Even though both Del Rio and Taylor say they have no hard feelings, the player said the comment stung.

"A smidgen," he said. "A little piece of me didn't" like it.

Taylor explained that he didn't mean the Patriots had a hold on all film watching, and the quizzes come from coach Bill Belichick's style. Taylor also insisted he wasn't taking shots at Del Rio.

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"Never, never, never," he said. "I would never take a shot at him. You never burn bridges. Why would I burn bridges? I would never say that even if I felt that way. I have no problems with Jack. I really don't."

Taylor said the tone of his comments were lost in the translation.

"It's kind of like a text message," Taylor said. "He didn't hear my tone, he didn't know if I was laughing or joking. He didn't hear any of that."

Notes: Patriots NT Vince Wilfork, who missed last Sunday's 17-10 victory at Buffalo with a foot injury, and DE Ty Warren, who sat out with an ankle injury, returned to practice Wednesday on a limited basis. ... Patriots QB Tom Brady didn't participate and was listed with right shoulder, right finger and rib injuries. He practiced with those injuries last week and took every offensive snap against the Bills. ... Jaguars CB Rashean Mathis (groin) didn't practice, and DT John Henderson (shoulder) was limited.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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