Jason Taylor: “I was floored” by Brady recommendation

It’s hard to figure out which surprised Hall-of-Famer Jason Taylor more — his election as a first-ballot choice or a letter recommending that election from New England quarterback Tom Brady.

Taylor frankly admits he never expected to be chosen to the Hall in his first year of eligibility — saying he had “zero expectations of making it.” Yet make it he did, joining Bruce Smith, Reggie White, Deacon Jones and Gino Marchetti as the only first-ballot Hall-of-Fame defensive ends.

“I’m still in a little bit of shock, a little bit of surprise, a little bit of awe,” he said.

But he could be talking about the support he gained from an unexpected source, too, and would Tom Brady please step forward?

Taylor never expected that, either, and for good reason: Brady’s former teammate, Ty Law, was another Hall-of-Fame finalist who played the majority of his career with New England, while Taylor played the majority of his career with Miami.

But that we know.

What we don’t is why Brady – who won three Super Bowls with Law and is good friend of the Patriots’ cornerback – wrote a letter of recommendation to the Pro Football Hall of Fame and its voters … for Jason Taylor and not Law.

But he did, and Law – who was a Top-10 finisher in his first try as finalist — jokingly asked us to pose that question to Taylor. So we did on the latest Talk of Fame Network broadcast.

“That’s a good question,” said Taylor. “You know what the beauty of that is? I didn’t even ask Tom for it.

“He and I had a great friendship throughout our playing days. Obviously, we played against each other a ton. I probably played 25 or 26 games against Tommy … maybe more, I don’t even know the number of games. We’ve always had this healthy rivalry between the two of us. We would go at it, compete hard and we were great friends off the field.

“I was floored when I saw the letter. I really was. Seth Levit, the director of my foundation (the Jason Taylor Foundation) and office here in Florida, actually texted me that Tom had sent a letter in. I guess Seth had been talking to the people in New England and got the letter down here, and I was floored. It means the world to me.

“I know Ty played with him, and Ty was kinda like, ‘What? Brady wrote you a letter?’ But it is one of those things where I will take it and frame it. I got a letter and words from Jimmy Johnson … I’m looking at what Bill Polian had to say … and all these clips of guys who had amazing things to say about me, and I want to take them all and keep them forever.

“But that Tom Brady letter … a text I got from Peyton Manning the other night … the list goes on of guys that have reached out that I want to save forever. I don’t trust this cloud. Whatever this cloud is … this I-cloud thing, I need to go back and put it on pen and paper and keep it somewhere in my house.”

(Cover photo courtesy of the Miami Dolphins)
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  1. Rich Morey
    February 13, 2017

    I’m a HUGE Dolphins fan but there is no way Taylor should be a first ballot HOF’er. I’m not even sure he should be in the HOF at all.

    • February 14, 2017

      Rich, thx for writing. I believe he should be in Hall, but will agree with you: Surprised he was first-ballot choice.

    • HWMH
      February 14, 2017

      Taylor was great. Being personable and gracious and playing nicely with the media also counts for something, and he excelled there as well.

  2. February 14, 2017

    Clark, just a thought: if Brady’s endorsement letter put Taylor over the top, then how come Belichick’s (along with Parcells and Coughlin’s) didn’t do the same for O.J. Anderson? O.J. is now backed by 9 Super Bowl titles plus Larry Holmes’s Heavyweight Championship of the World! I dare say no one in Hall of Fame history can match this gridiron firepower!

    • February 14, 2017

      Bradys letter did not put Taylor over the top. It was just something that was mentioned, but Taylor thought it was a big deal. I would bet some of the voters didnt even see it, but it is unusual for a QB … who is active … to write something about an opponent up for the Hall. Tagliabue had a raft of letters supporting him … too many to count … and it didnt push him over the top, either. Candidates regularly have letters of support, but they tend to be from teammates or coaches for whom they played. Thats what made this unusual.

  3. Rick Betourne
    February 14, 2017

    I honestly don’t understand how TB12 didn’t write one for Ty Law. Maybe he thought Law had a better chance of getting in (which he should have). I can’t imagine Bill Polian, the ultimate Patriot hater, wrote an endorsement letter for Law–who Polian whined about his play so much to get rules changed. There are maybe a handful of DBs that I would put before Law (and one is not the Island guy).

    • February 14, 2017

      Not sure, either, but really not a big deal. Law thought it was sort of funny. Letter didnt put Taylor in. We get dozens of them in support of candidates, and there were dozens in support of Tagliabue … who did not get the votes. But Taylor was understandably surprised and overwhelmed.

  4. […] far as to write a letter of recommendation to the Hall of Fame committee on Taylor’s behalf. Taylor was “floored” by Brady’s kind […]

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