Fred Taylor says his new contract will allow him to have played all of his career for one team and retire following the 2010 season.
"It guarantees I'll retire as a Jaguar. I have that much football left in me and they're going to get every ounce of it. I said going into last season I wanted to play until the wheels fall off. I love being in Jacksonville; the Gator fans and all of that. I get to finish my career on one team and a lot of guys don't get to do that," Taylor told jaguars.com Thursday afternoon following the announcement that Taylor had agreed to a contract extension with the team.
The new deal adds three years to Taylor's current contract, which has one year remaining on it. The combination of the two contracts would keep Taylor in Jacksonville through 2010, which Taylor expects will be his final season.
"This will solidify my retirement as a Jaguar. My family doesn't have to move. I'm a Jaguar. That's it. I'm done. This is a good day," Taylor said, obviously delighted that his future in Jacksonville is secure.
Taylor began campaigning for a contract extension last season. He almost sounded remorseful as he reflected on comments he had made.
"Some times you have to voice your opinion to get certain things accomplished. We went back and forth about three times. At the time I definitely felt like I deserved one (contract). I could've been frustrated. I deserved to be compensated. They didn't have to get the deal done. I had a year left on my deal. I'm so very thankful for them to step on the gas pedal," he said in retrospect.
Taylor declined to disclose financial terms of the new deal. He said it didn't pay him among the top tier of running backs in the league.
"I always felt like my compensation should at least be at the second-tier level. It's a level we both agreed upon. We were only a couple of numbers apart, but you have to be able to look at all of the positives," said Taylor, whose primary wish was to be able to finish his career in Jacksonville.
Taylor rushed for 1,146 yards, five touchdowns and a 5.0 yards-per-carry average in 2006. He also caught 23 passes for 242 yards and a touchdown.
It was a comeback year for Taylor, who struggled through '05 on a knee that was coming off significant surgery. Taylor rushed for 787 yards in '05 but reclaimed his star status last season while sharing much of the running back chores with rookie Maurice Jones-Drew.
Taylor credited his top physical condition last season to an offseason conditioning program he conducted in south Florida under the direction of a personal trainer. Taylor said he plans to do the same this spring.
"My plans are to work out with this guy I worked out with last year. I benefited from it last year. I felt I had a great season with what I did. (The Jaguars) didn't say, 'Fred, you can't do what you did last year,'" he said.
"It's all about winning games. I'm a responsible individual. I'm going to do what I need to do to get into top shape. I really, really want to do what I did last year," he added.
Taylor was a first-round draft choice in 1998 and will enter his 10th pro season this year. If he fulfills his contract, he will have played 13 years and could push his rushing total over 12,000 yards. He needs 487 yards rushing to reach 10,000 yards, which has long been considered a milestone for Hall of Fame consideration.
"I'm going to fulfill every obligation," he said when asked if he thinks he has enough left in his legs to play 13 seasons. "I'm thinking I'm going to retire at the end of 2010. I got a lot left. Football is easy for me."
The arrival of Maurice Jones-Drew last season may have helped Taylor stay healthy for most of the season. Taylor didn't miss a game until the 15th game of the season. He is fourth all-time among active rushers and 21st all-time.
"I felt like the thing with Maurice and I was a blessing in disguise, and now Greg (Jones) is coming back. It can extend my career," Taylor said of sharing carries. "I think we can co-exist. There comes a time as a young man, however, that you want to be the guy. I want to win and I want to play another 3-4 years."