Fred Taylor bid farewell to the 2008 season on Thursday. Taylor met with reporters to announce that he was heading for the injured reserve list and likely surgery on his left thumb.
"Trying to finish the year by playing wouldn't be smart at all. I really think I can extend my career by doing the smart thing," Taylor said.
Taylor tore ligaments in the thumb in last Sunday's loss in Chicago. He finishes the year with 556 yards rushing and a 3.9 yards-per-carry average, each of which are low-water marks in his career, other than for the 2001 season when he played in only two games before sustaining a season-ending groin injury.
"I'm going to play football and I'm going to play football here," Taylor said in his farewell press conference, which he used to reaffirm his intention to continue his career and remain with the Jaguars in 2009. "As long as I know what my role is, I'll embrace it and go forward."
Taylor will likely have to agree to a role secondary to Maurice Jones-Drew's and to a restructured contract that might include a pay cut. He acknowledges each.
"He's grown into that role and I feel like I'm an older brother," Taylor said of Jones-Drew's ascent to feature running back status. Jones-Drew leads the Jaguars in rushing with 607 yards, 11 touchdowns and a 4.3 average. The third-year back has also caught 50 passes for 462 yards and could become the team's receptions leader, too, before the season is complete. Jones-Drew, of course, is seeking a new, long-term contract.
"If I was a stat guy, I'd probably try to do something with this," Taylor said, gesturing toward his bandaged thumb, "but one of my goals is to pass Jim Brown because he's the best running back of all time." Taylor needs 1,041 yards to tie Brown for eighth place on the all-time NFL rushing list.
"I can't do some of the things as well as I used to do them. That happened a couple of years ago," Taylor confessed. He said he's had to become quicker to the hole in recent years.
In his farewell address, Taylor shined a positive light on the Jaguars' attempts to recover from the disappointment of this season and of quarterback David Garrard.
"I think we can definitely be back (next year)," Taylor said when asked if the team can recover during the offseason to become a playoff contender next season. "It was just the chemistry I thought this year. It's a little different this year. We let some guys go and we brought some new guys in.
"David's good. This isn't going to be an easy ride through his career. You've got to have these ups and downs. That's what makes you a great quarterback. He keeps his head up. He'll be OK," Taylor added.
Taking Taylor's place on the active roster is former Jaguars running back Alvin Pearman, who was signed on Thursday.