Fred Taylor was, is and always will be quite simply the best Jacksonville Jaguar player ever. Freddy T holds more team records than anybody else. He is ranked 15th all-time in rushing in the history of the NFL. He has been to the pro bowl & will be enshrined in the NFL Hall of Fame someday in my opinion. He will undoubtedly be inducted into the Jaguars ring of Honor at Everbank field soon. Fred has been the face of the franchise & their main offensive weapon as well during his 11 years with the team. He has 11,695 total rushing yards in his career. He maintained a 4.6 yards per carry throughout his career as well ( NFL great Jim Brown had a 5.2 average). He amassed 66 career TDs while only fumbling 8 times in his entire 13 year NFL career. He has 290 total receptions for 2,384 yards & 8 TD catches. He has the record for the longest TD run in NFL playoff history, 90 yards against the Dolphins in 1999. His first play in the NFL was a 52 yard TD against the Ravens. He is respected by top players, coaches, GMs & fans across the NFL. All that and he is also a very classy, humble man. Many people call him one of the nicest people you could ever know. He didn’t talk trash on the field, but let his plays define him as one of the greatest players ever, not just in Jacksonville, but in the entire NFL. He is known for his speed, strength, agility & for being a mentor to younger players entering the league.
Fred gave fans so many great memories. Breaking long TD runs to win the game. He had the blazing speed to out run entire defenses. He has the strength to break multiple tackles for a first down. His juke moves leaving linebackers laying on the ground with twisted legs & bewildered looks. He had the knack of making the amazing seem ordinary. Time and time again he came up big in big games. He helped run over the Colts to the tune of 375 yards on the ground alongside Maurice Jones-Drew. He holds the record for most yards in a single game at the old 3 rivers stadium in Pittsburgh against the Steelers, a place & team known for being tough to run against. NFL Hall of Famers and rookies alike are quick to tell you that Fred never deserved that “fragile fred” label. He was a very tough & durable player for a long time. He played in 153 games over 13 years. Most running backs don’t last half that time in the NFL. Most miss alot more games too. Jim Brown once said of Taylor “He’s the nastiest runner I’ve ever seen. His style of running is just nasty”. High praise from the best running back of all time. Fred could definitely punish would-be tacklers or make them look silly. He could get defenders turned around, run past them as if they were standing still or lower his shoulder, leveling a defender while he just kept on truckin’ to the end zone.
Fred’s teammates as well as those he played against have heaped praise upon him for his efforts on the field & his kindness of it. He is friends with many current & former players. All of them consider themselves honored to have played with or against him. I have had the privilege, as many fans have, of watching him run for a touchdown in person at a Jaguars game. I have had the pleasure of meeting him after a game in Houston. He was very respectful of the fans and stayed to autograph hats, jerseys, footballs & pictures. I remember him posing for a picture with former teammate, WR Jimmy Smith, along the visiting team’s sideline. They both signed a hat & jersey (number 28 of course) for my son. Very cool guys. Many fans have a special place in their hearts for Fred Taylor. Fred Taylor also has a special place in his heart for all of us. Fred retired a few days ago. He retired as a Jaguar. He retired as a great running back, great player, great teammate and a great human being. Thank you Fred for all the wonderful memories you gave us. You’re simply the best.