Fred Taylor may not play again this season, but comments Taylor and his head coach made on Wednesday would seem to suggest Taylor has not played his last game as a Jaguar.
"We're going to speak in the offseason. We spoke today and we're going to speak in the offseason. That's being professional. I like that," Taylor said, referring to a conversation with coach Jack Del Rio on Wednesday about the running back's future with the team.
Asked if he thought he played his last game as a Jaguar on Sunday in Chicago, Taylor said, "Not at all," and when he was asked if he thinks he'll be back with the team next season, Taylor added, "Of course."
Taylor sustained torn ligaments in his left thumb in Chicago and he is awaiting the medical opinion of Dr. James Andrews, who was sent the results of an MRI examinational on Taylor's thumb. Taylor could join fullback Greg Jones (ankle) on the injured reserve list; Jones was put on IR on Wednesday.
Del Rio addressed the question of Taylor's future, during Del Rio's press conference on Wednesday.
"He's one of the all-time great Jaguars. He's been an absolute stud in the six years I've been here. We'll spend some time when it's appropriate. At this point, I would expect him to be back with the Jaguars," Del Rio said.
Taylor has two years remaining on his contract and is due in 2009 to earn $6 million in salary, which includes $1 million in roster bonus in early March. Taylor may have to agree to a pay cut to be retained by the team.
"Pay cut? It would depend what that pay cut would be. I would say give me more up-front money. That's the only way I'd take a pay cut," Taylor said.
"I've always said I'm going to run until the wheels fall off. I'll be in an offseason program busting my butt again," he added.
"He's taken care of his body," Del Rio said of Taylor. "He still has the juice. He still has some skill left. I'd like to see him retire as a Jaguar."
All of that is to be decided in the offseason. In what remains of this season, Del Rio has to concentrate on patching his lineup. Mike Walker is likely to replace Matt Jones in the starting lineup at wide receiver, but Jones isn't the only receiver the Jaguars have lost. Jerry Porter won't play on Sunday due to a groin strain. Jones, of course, is serving a three-game, season-ending drug suspension.
The Jaguars worked out two former Jaguars running backs – Alvin Pearman and LaBrandon Toefield – on Wednesday.
Del Rio's message to his team this week is that he wants it to re-commit to winning. "We don't have to wait to start fresh. We don't have to wait for some magical date to re-commit. That's the way I want to approach it. It's not like we haven't been trying. We want to re-commit," he said.