CANTON, Ohio (CBSMiami) — Next stop: Canton, Ohio.
Miami Dolphins great Jason Taylor was elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame Saturday in his first year on the ballot.
The news came as a surprise.
“To say that I’m elated is an understatement,” Taylor said. “This whole experience has been humbling, but today, to get that knock on the door and be welcomed into the most sacred and prestigious fraternity in our game? I’m almost at a loss for words.”
The 6’6″ defensive end from Akron was drafted in the 3rd round and spent 15 years in the NFL, 13 of which was in aqua and orange.
Sharing the moment with his sons, Taylor said, was his proudest moment.
“‘Dad! You’re in the Hall of Fame!’ It just doesn’t get any better than that,” he said.
Taylor, 42, finished his career with 139.5 sacks, ranking 7th all-time, and was named NFL Defensive MVP in 2006.
His 9 touchdowns on defense are the most ever by a defensive lineman or linebacker. Three of those came by interception, another record at his position, and he’s tied for 1st with 29 fumble recoveries. The 6 fumbles he returned for scores are also the most by any defensive player ever.
Taylor’s most sacked quarterback? None other than Tom Brady, taken down 11.5 times.
“The games against Jason are some of my most, well, maybe least, memorable,” said the New England Patriots signal caller. “He is one of the greatest opponents 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.”
Former teammate Zach Thomas said Taylor deserved to be a first ballot Hall of Famer.
“I never saw anyone disrupt an offense like Jason, and I never saw anyone more competitive,” said Thomas. “He was a great teammate who demanded the most out of everyone he played with and made each of them a better player. That’s truly the mark of a Hall of Famer.”
Coaches game planned specifically against him.
“I coached more games against Jason Taylor than any other player in my career and I’m sure he was probably the one who ruined the most games,” said Bill Belichick. “Jason was a relentless competitor and a true game-changer for how he disrupted our offense and forced us to game plan for him.”
#99 joins nine other Dolphins in the Hall of Fame: Nick Buoniconti, Larry Csonka, Bob Griese, Dan Marino, Jim Langer, Larry Little, Don Shula, Dwight Stephenson, and Paul Warfield.
Also inducted into the 2017 Hall of Fame class were Morten Andersen, Terrell Davis, LaDainian Tomlinson, and Kurt Warner.