DAVIE (CBSMiami) – There was an added excitement around the start of Miami Dolphins training camp on Thursday at the team’s practice facility in Davie.
Soon-to-be-inducted Hall of Famer Jason Taylor was there and he sat down with CBS4 sports anchor Jim Berry to discuss the big day coming up next week.
In the lobby of Dolphins headquarters, Jason Taylor is already there.
Earlier this year he became the tenth Miami Dolphins player voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
For Taylor, it won’t be real until his induction a week from Saturday.
Taylor has seen the moment make other grown men cry. As for himself?
“I’m not gonna sit here and try to be a tough guy and say I’m not gonna cry,” he said. “Shoot, I’ll be lucky if I get through the first paragraph without doing it. Football at its core is an emotional game. It’s controlling those emotions in the course of a game [that is important], but once you’re on the stage in Canton [all bets are off].”
For 13 of his 15 NFL seasons, Taylor terrorized quarterbacks while playing for Miami.
But he went above and beyond as a playmaker, setting records for scoring defensive touchdowns.
And to think of all the reasons naysayers doubted Taylor when he was drafted twenty years ago.
“Played at Akron, a small school. Can’t stop the run,” Taylor said, listing a couple of the doubts that surrounded him coming out of college.
He then laughed while saying “They didn’t know what the hell they were talking about. I like being doubted. I was doubted all my life. I was doubled up until February.”
Taylor became more than a football star. He was also a heart throb.
“At first I wasn’t,” he said when asked if he was comfortable with that image. “Because of all the doubters and all the naysayers. Early on I wanted to make sure I was viewed as a football player. There’s a plethora of not-so-pretty people in the locker room so I’ll take the tag of being one of the good lookers.”
Taylor’s football glory took its physical toll.
He admits some days now are painful, and he’s keenly aware of the latest concussion study suggesting an even stronger link between brain damage and football.
“It’s a fact that this is a very violent game,” he said. “You can’t escape that. And I know the follow-up question is would I change anything. No, I don’t think I would because it’s changed my life and so many around me in so many ways.”
Taylor is looking forward to the new found level of clout that being a Hall of Famer brings.
“The best part of it is that five seconds that you can make somebody’s day,” he said. “You walk past and give a kid a high-five and he looks at his hand as you walk away and he’s like ‘I’m never washing my hand.’ Those little things, they may seem like nothing in the course of your day but they all stick and they all mean something.”
Taylor is bracing for a Hall of Fame weekend which includes a game, a dinner, a parade and his enshrinement.
After that, he and many of his former Dolphins teammates will let the good times roll.