Former Dolphins defensive end Jason Taylor may have made Tom Brady’s life miserable over the course of his playing career , but that doesn’t mean there’s not mutual respect between the two players.
With Taylor now taking his place in the NFL Hall of Fame, he was asked on Sunday night during the Hall of Fame Game between the Dallas Cowboys and Arizona Cardinals about the letter Brady sent in support of Taylor, hoping to sway the voters to recognize what a tough opponent Taylor was.
In the letter, Brady called Taylor, “one of the greatest opponents I have ever faced” and that “his effort was second to none.”
That certainly caught Taylor off guard, with the former Dolphins great during Sunday night’s broadcast saying he was “floored” by the gesture, adding, “That meant more to me than anything.”
Brady made a strong case for Taylor in the letter, which was posted by NBC 6 Sports back in February.
“The Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony is an event I look forward to watching each summer,” wrote Brady. “To see the players I’ve idolized and had the opportunity to compete against receive their invitation into the most exclusive fraternity our game has to offer is very special. Their nomination gives me a chance to reflect on their careers, the battles we have had, and the respect that I hold for them.
“My purpose in writing this letter, however, is to focus on one particular player who, without a doubt in my mind, deserves his place in Canton: Jason Taylor.
“The games against Jason are some of my most (well, maybe least) memorable. He is one of the greatest players 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. While I entered the league with a health respect for Jason and the Miami defense he led, my admiration for him as a player and a person only grew with each play, each game, each season.
“The word I typically used to describe Jason was tenacious. His effort was second to none. Regardless of the situation, Jason came after me with the same reckless abandon on each and every snap, getting to his target often. I remember hearing once he sacked me more than any quarterback in the NFL, a painful badge of honor for me. Jason was equally as incredible against the run and never took a play off.
“Sure he was an explosive, athletic player, but it was his fierce tenacity that made him one of the league’s most dominant players for 15 years, and the reason we were on high alert every time No. 99 was in his pass rush stance.
“Coach Belichick and the rest of the staff have a reputation for game planning against a team’s strengths. Perhaps the biggest compliment I can pay Jason is the amount of hours we spent watching game film over the years and going over what we needed to neutralize him. I can’t say we ever came up with a great answer.
“I don’t envy the challenge you have in selecting the all-time best from a group of so many great players who will make up this year’s Hall of Fame class. With that said, I will tell you from my personal experience Jason is one of them.
“Thank you for your time and consideration.”
— NBC 6 Sports (@NBC6Sports) February 5, 2017
Over the course of Taylor’s 15-year NFL career, he faced off against Brady in 20 games, sacking him 12.5 times and was one of Miami’s premier pass rushers over his terrific career.
Congratulations to Taylor, who thanks to his tenacity in those battles against Brady, has certainly earned his Gold Jacket.
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