The Jacksonville Jaguars released veteran running back Fred Taylor today. Taylor, the club's first round pick in 1998, started 136 of 140 games in 11 seasons with the Jaguars and led the team in rushing in eight of his 11 seasons.
"Fred Taylor's place in Jaguars history has been clearly established," Jaguars Owner Wayne Weaver said. "He is not only the standard-bearer for many team records, he is and has been a leader and one of the most important people in the 15-year history of this franchise. Fred came to us as a promising, talented and soft-spoken rookie from Florida, and today he can look back at his 11-year career with pride in all that he accomplished both on the field and off the field. I want to thank Fred for all that he has contributed to this franchise and this city. He is a true professional and a champion."
"This was a difficult decision to come to, but a decision that had to be made despite how we all feel about Fred," general manager Gene Smith said. "We all respect and appreciate what Fred has done, and we feel that he can still play in the NFL, but in our current situation we believe this is the right move at this time."
"I have nothing but love and respect for Fred Taylor," head coach Jack Del Rio said. "In the six years that we've been together he has been a pro, a leader and a great teammate. Out of respect for Fred we went to meet with him face-to-face this morning in south Florida. He made it clear that he wants to continue playing, and we are making this move now so that he can continue his career."
"I want to thank Wayne Weaver and the coaches and the Jaguars organization for 11 great years," Taylor said. "I feel healthy and I'm determined to continue my career. I understand the team's decision to move on, and I have nothing but warm feelings for the Jaguars organization."
Taylor ranks 16th in NFL history for most rushing yards with career totals of 2,428 carries for 11,271 yards and 62 rushing touchdowns in 140 games. Taylor is the Jaguars career, single-season (1,572, 2003) and single-game (234, 11/19/00 at Pittsburgh) rushing leader. He trails only Arizona's Edgerrin James (12,121) and San Diego's LaDainian Tomlinson (11,760) among active running backs in rushing yards. In addition, Taylor ranks third in franchise history with 286 receptions for 2,361 yards. He holds the franchise record for total touchdowns (70), yards from scrimmage (13,632) and all-purpose yards. He has played in seven of the club's 11 playoff games.
Taylor started the first 13 games of the 2008 season before being placed on injured reserve for the first time in his career after his injuring his thumb on December 7 at Chicago. Taylor ranked second on the team with 556 yards on 143 carries along with one rushing touchdown. He surpassed 11,000 career rushing yards on November 9 at Detroit and set a franchise record with his 70th career touchdown on December 1 at Houston.
In 2007, Taylor earned the first Pro Bowl trip of his career as he ranked fifth in the AFC with 1,202 rushing yards and was the only player in the NFL to record five consecutive 100-yard rushing games.