The New York Jets signed Jason Taylor, a six-time Pro Bowl pass rusher who last year said the team’s fans took the “cl” out of class.
Taylor, who will be 36 when the National Football League season begins, joined the Jets after the Miami Dolphins declined to offer the free agent a new deal. Taylor has spent 12 of his 13 NFL seasons with the Dolphins, one of the Jets’ rivals in the American Football Conference’s East Division.
“As far as the things that have been said in the past, we had a good time with it and went at it a lot of times,” Taylor said today during a news conference. “Me being up here now may or may not add more fuel to the fire, but as far as the Jets fans are concerned, I’m one of you guys now.”
Jets coach Rex Ryan compared Taylor’s arrival to Major League Baseball players Roger Clemens and Johnny Damon helping the New York Yankees win World Series titles after playing for the rival Boston Red Sox.
“If Jason can have the same impact on the Jets as those players had on the Yankees and we win a championship, I think we’ll all be happy,” Ryan said during a news conference.
Taylor, who plays defensive end and outside linebacker, has 127 1/2 career sacks, including seven last year for the Dolphins. While the Jets had the NFL’s top- ranked defense last year, they tied for 18th out of 32 teams with 32 sacks. Calvin Pace led the team with eight.
“We have an outstanding group already at that position in our base defense, but you can expect Jason to be out there a bunch,” Ryan said. “You’ve got to be able to rush the passer in the fourth quarter and I think those things are something that we really wanted to get better at this year.”
Six Pro Bowls
Taylor was selected for the Pro Bowl following the 2000, 2002 and 2004-2007 seasons. He was the 2006 NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
The Jets didn’t disclose terms of his contract. During the 2009 season, Taylor was critical of Jets fans in an interview with Sirius NFL Radio.
“I’ve said a lot of things about Jets fans in the past and I’m sure at heart they’re good people, most of them are good people,” Taylor said in that interview. “The (New York) Giants’ fans are a different type of people, just put it that way. There’s a little more class on the Giants’ side and some Jets fans take the ‘cl’ out of class.”
To contact the reporter on this story: Erik Matuszewski in New York at firstname.lastname@example.org