Skip to main content

Jaguars News | Jacksonville Jaguars -

What they're saying about Fred Taylor


Gene Smith, Jaguars general manager, senior vice president of player personnel
"Fred Taylor was truly a great player who made the extraordinary look ordinary. Beyond rare talent, Fred Taylor should be recognized for his humility."

Bill Belichick, Patriots head coach
"Fred Taylor's rare combination of power and speed made him the complete package, one of the most dangerous and productive backs of the past decade.  He was a team-first, true professional who commanded great respect and was a pleasure to coach."

Marcus Stroud, former Jaguars defensive tackle
"Fred was a great teammate and just a great all-around person. He was one of the people that embraced me when I first came to Jacksonville, taught me the ropes about the NFL, and taught me a lot about life in general.  It's very rare to come across a person who is as good off the field as he is on the field. 

"Everybody was trying to give him flack about getting hurt and saying different things, but look at the numbers.  They don't lie.  They do the talking for him.  Fred is one of the top 15 rushers in NFL history, not just in Jaguars history.  Any time you can put up the kind of numbers that he put and have some of the injuries that he had then that is just a testament to the type of athlete that he is."

Ray Lewis, Baltimore Ravens linebacker
"When you talk about football players, Fred is one of the best I&39;ve seen in my life. He approached the game the way a true businessman approaches his trade. When you talk about respect, he was one guy who every time you got ready to play, you had to have a certain level of respect because he could break any tackle or run away from anyone. For years and years, he was one of the best backs I've ever seen play this game.

"I'll remember every moment that I've played against him, because every moment you faced him you had to prepare for every play. You always knew there was going to be some play he'd be able to break and get out of the gate. Preparing for him was totally different than for any other back, because he was that homerun-type of a back. But, at the same time, Fred also had the physical size to take the pounding and play with a passion. He was, without question, a special player."

Tom Coughlin, former Jaguars head coach and current New York Giants head coach
"I remember when Fred came to us and his class reported in the spring. It&39;s 95 degrees in Jacksonville in the spring. Between the spring and training camp, when we worked against the Saints, Fred learned what it would take to excel in this league. At one point during training camp, he had a great quote. He said, &39;I think he&39;s trying to kill me.&39;

"Fred went on to have a real nice career for himself. He grabbed me last year after we played the Patriots in the preseason, and he said, &39;Coach, I understand now what you were doing.&39;

"Fred was one of the best big-play running backs in the game. I remember early on he broke off a draw on Monday night football for a long touchdown. In the playoff game against the Dolphins, Fred had a 90-yard touchdown run. People just couldn&39;t keep up with him. People had to respect his explosiveness and breakaway speed. He became a leader of our team by example and his work ethic.  He is respected by teammates and opponents and the fans because of the way he lives his life and treats the people around him. Fred is a pro and I congratulate him on a wonderful career."

Warren Sapp, former NFL defensive tackle
"Fred Taylor was one of the best running backs I ever faced in my football career. He's a true work horse and gentleman, both on the field and off."

Jeff Fisher, former NFL head coach
"I am tremendously excited for Fred because it's difficult to walk away from this game on your own terms.  Fred has had a tremendous career.  I was tortured many Sunday afternoons on the sideline across from him, watching our guys try to get him down.  It was always a great challenge to prepare for Fred.  He was one of the more talented backs that I've faced as a head coach in my career.  This game will miss Fred."

Bill Polian, Colts Vice Chairman
"Fred Taylor is one of the premier backs of his generation. As a Jaguar he was a player we feared and respected. As an NFL player his effort on the field and off made the league a better place.  Everyone with the Colts salutes his great career and joins Mr. Irsay and myself in wishing Fred and his family nothing but good things in the years to come."

Byron Leftwich, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback and former Jaguar
"Fred means a lot to me.  There are not many times a rookie quarterback comes in and can turn around and hand the ball to a guy who ran for 1,400 or 1,500-plus yards in this league.  Like I tell people all the time, I have been around a lot of good football players in my nine years in the NFL, but none of them like Fred Taylor. 

"His knowledge of the game allowed him to go the distance on a play.  You're talking about a guy who is 6-1, 230, a big guy who is capable of doing things these little running backs do.  He just did in a different type and unique way."

Eddie George, former NFL running back
"Playing against Fred so many times in my career, I was just glad I wasn't responsible for stopping him. He was a special player with a great skill set - he had speed, power and quickness. In my mind he was a more powerful Chris Johnson. If he could have stayed healthy he would have been near the very top of the NFL's all-time rushing list, he was that talented. Jacksonville&39;s passing game got a lot of attention, but Fred made the offense dynamic."

Keenan McCardell, former Jaguars wide receiver and current Washington Redskins assistant coach
"Fred had to grow up quick because he was thrown into the fire right away. We knew we had a player from day one when he went 52 yards for a touchdown on his first carry against Baltimore (third game of his career). Fred was one of the best teammates I ever had. He was like a quiet assassin. He didn't talk much, but he made his noise on the field."

Jimmy Smith, former Jaguars wide receiver
"Freddy-T was my guy, my 'Wonder Twin' warrior on the field, one of the best backs in the game. He set the tone for the rookies and pushed us vets to be accountable.  Fred was a teacher, mentor, a humble man of character, well respected by his teammates, and had a work ethic like no other. He was the example to model after, one of our true leaders. Fred symbolizes what the NFL stands for.

"Fred was a one-of-a-kind talent on the field and continues to be a true NFL brother and one of my best friends now in retirement. I was honored to have shared those glory years of the Jaguars with him as teammates. Every pregame we shared a ritual before we took the field. We would put our fists together and shout 'Hey Duce., 82, 28 - ACTIVATE!

"Fred is an NFL legend and he&39;s going to be remembered for a long time. Just to have played alongside him and learn from him was an invaluable experience for me. I will always remember his friendship and tenacity on the field.  He was my Wonder Twin. I counted on him every game to connect and activate into forms of super warriors. Freddy-T was one whose level I always aspired to reach. I will always remember him as my "Wonder Twin. Activate 82-28."  

Mike Peterson, Atlanta Falcons linebacker and former Jaguar
"I want to congratulate Fred Taylor on a great career. I feel honored to have played with him. I think I'm one in a large group of people who are selfish and wish he was still playing. But I respect his decision to hang them up. Fred approached everything he did as a true professional and I respected him a great deal for that.

"I think he was a guy that the young players in Jacksonville looked up to and learned from because of his professional approach to his job. Fred fought through injuries during the early part of his career with the Jaguars to play 13 productive years in the NFL and I respected that more than any stats he ever put up on the board. To me, that shows the character of the man more than anything else."   

Greg Jones, Jaguars fullback
"When I came in Fred really showed me how to be a pro.  I was like, 'this is Freddy T;'  I watched him growing up at Florida and now I get to play with him. I just sat back and kind of watched him a little bit being a rookie.  He was the man but it was more about the way he carried out his business.  He was writing notes down, finishing his runs in practice.  I was like, 'this guy has been here for seven years and he's still writing notes down.  He already knows the offense inside out but he's still working.'  I started writing notes and kind of started cheating off of him.  Everything he did I would start doing for myself.  I tried to tweak it a little so I could get better.  He really taught me how to be a pro.

"When he was healthy he was one of the best backs.  Throughout his career he was probably the most underrated player.  He had the ability to do everything.  He had the speed to go the distance, but at the same time he had the size to run over you.  He had the agility to make you miss.  He was an every-down back, kind of like a LT (LaDainian Tomlinson) before his time.  People didn't give Fred the respect he deserved early in his career because of injuries."

Tony Boselli, former Jaguar
"One of the greatest Jaguars to ever play the game and one of the best running backs during his tenure in the NFL.  He was a guy that could run you over and run away from you all at the same time.  He's one of my favorite teammates of all-time.  He had a smile on his face and competed hard. 

"All I remember about Fred's first training camp is that James Stewart came in and completely overshadowed him and clearly won the job.  Fred really struggled picking things up and then James gets hurt after having back-to-back 100-yard games to start the season.  He gets hurt against Baltimore and everybody kind of takes a deep breath.  Here comes Fred jogging into the game and the first play he busts one for a touchdown and everybody was like, 'here we go.'  He just dominated the rest of the year and the rest of his career.  When Fred Taylor was healthy, he was probably one of the most underrated backs in the NFL.  I will take Fred Taylor during his time when he's healthy right with or maybe in front of anybody because he was that dominant."

Brad Meester, Jaguars center
"For me coming in, Fred was someone that I could look up to. I learned a lot from him just from the way he carried himself in the locker room and on the field.  He's one of the nicest guys you will ever meet.  He brought all this energy to the field every day and was one of those guys that provided the spark for the entire team. 

"It was tremendous to be a part of him getting 10,000 yards at Tennessee, just because I had been with him for so many years and then for him to get that was an unbelievable experience.  He deserved every bit of that.  He's a great guy and a tremendous back.  What's amazing about Fred is it wasn't just on the field for him.  He's the complete guy, in the locker room, how he carries himself with other people and how he carried himself on the field."

Mark Brunell, former Jaguars quarterback
"Fred was a true professional and one of the greatest Jaguars ever.  He was a hard worker with a positive attitude, a great leader in the lockerroom and a tremendous player on the field.   It was a privilege to play with him because he just made everybody around him better."

Donovin Darius, former Jaguars safety
"What makes this so special is Fred and I played in the Senior Bowl against each other and then we came in together.  He was 1a and I was 1b.  From a career standpoint, one of the things I love about Freddy T's career is he went through that evolution from a sport to a career.  You saw that in the way he played and the way he prepared.  For the first few years, he was young, talented, just giving you everything he had, while battling injuries and personal issues.  Then there was an evolution in there where he actually developed even moreso and took more responsibility into his career.  He became more of a professional in himself and you just saw how his career took off even beyond the Jaguars.  I always felt like he was one of the top running backs in the league for what he can do with that ball in his hands."

Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars running back
"The first time I met Fred was the first day of mini-camp.  I got here early and my locker wasn't close to him and I was running around doing stuff.  At our first meeting, we sat down and I introduced myself to him.  I told him that I had heard about some of the stuff being said but I was coming to learn everything I can from him and help him wherever I can.  Our relationship from that point forward was tight.  There was nothing else to it.  The kind of guy he is and where I was coming from wanting to learn everything about the NFL, a lot of guys aren't willing to open up that way and say, 'Listen, here's what I have learned in this league on and off the field.'  On and off the field, we were able to be friends and still to this day.  It became more of a friendship than a competitive deal. 

"His work ethic was a big deal.  A lot of guys come into the NFL and they make it, do a lot of things, but to see Fred finish every run in practice, how he finished every run in a game, whether it's one cut and go, or if a guy was in his way he ran them over, he made a guy miss, I saw how a Hall of Fame running back plays in my career.  I'm able to emulate that into my game.  You hear all this stuff about 'Fragile Fred.'  The guy played 13 years in this league.  How fragile is he?  There are guys that could only play four games.  Four games and not play ever again.

"In 2007, we understood our roles as a team and I think it was because Fred stepped out and made it clear what our roles were.  I understood I was a third-down, short-yardage goal line back and I'm going to return kicks.  I'm going to do the best I can to get us in a position where we could score.  We knew we were going to run the ball well.  Fred would tell me that whoever was in the game, we weren't missing a beat and that came from him telling me watching film together, studying and competing every day.  Those are the things a Hall of Fame back does.  A lot of people try to say it was me and him, but I feel like he took that 2007 team to the next level.  I just followed whatever he said.  I'm trying to continue that now."

Montell Owens, Jaguars fullback
"Fred single-handledly set the tone for the careers around him by setting the example of what it meant to be a pro at a consistently high level.

"Fred was the first face I saw when I got here.  At the time, our lockers were really close to one another. When you're next to an All-Pro caliber of a guy, you don't know what to expect coming from the University of Maine.  You're rarely around athletes of that caliber.  The first day of meetings in the running back room there was only one seat open and it was next to Fred Taylor.  I was almost apprehensive.  Can I sit at this table with Fred Taylor?  I was timid going into our meeting room.  He couldn't have been nicer."

Mike Ryan, Jaguars head athletic trainer, physical therapist
"In my 24 years as an athletic trainer in the NFL, I have seen very few players work as hard as Fred Taylor to both recover from an injury and in preventing injuries.  Fred realized the demands on his body and his mind to be an elite running back in this league and he simply out-worked everyone on the team to ensure he was ready every Sunday afternoon. 

"I have tremendous respect for Fred Taylor as a person and a Pro Bowl football player.  Fred worked extremely hard to develop a fitness plan that worked with him, he was wonderful to work with in the athletic training room and he took great pride in taking care of business.  Fred Taylor is a true gridiron great and I feel honored to have been able to work with him during his time here with the Jaguars."

David Garrard, Jaguars quarterback
"As a person, Fred was great for me when I first got to Jacksonville.  He was a Pro Bowl, Hall of Fame type running back and he was talking to me as a rookie like I was a teammate of his for 10 years.  He gave me the attention and that really helped me with the transition to the NFL as a quarterback.  Him taking that time out of his day to help me, I felt was awesome.

"Fred always had my back on and off the field.  We hung out as friends and as teammates.  We always joke around with each other and we still talk to this day.  He will always be one of those guys that you continue to talk to even when both of us are long gone.  We will still have reunions and meet up at different times in South Florida.  He's a lifetime friend and teammate that I will never forget and will always stay in contact with."

John Henderson, Oakland Raiders defensive tackle and former Jaguar
"It was great playing with Fred Taylor. I came in and he taught me the ropes and I really thank him for that. The game is going to miss him and I wish we could have got him a ring. I know he went to the Pro Bowl and I know he wanted a ring bad. There are just so many great things that I am going to miss about him. I hope he accomplished everything that he wanted. God bless him and I can't wait to see him."

Rashean Mathis, Jaguars cornerback
"Fred is just a great guy, a great family guy with morals and values.  He was someone that demanded respect and I don't mean that in a bad way.  I have history with Fred because I grew up here in Jacksonville so I was always a fan from the Gators standpoint.  It was always amazing to watch him play especially when I got drafted by the Jaguars and had the opportunity to play with him.  I was able to see first-hand how great he actually was. 

"On the defensive side of the ball, we call it a triple threat and that is what Fred was.  He can shake you, he can run over you and he can run past you.  Not too many backs possess those traits.  Some of them will try to run from you, some will run over you and some of them will try to shake you.  He can do all three and he will set you up with a move, make you think he's going to do one thing, and do another.  It's a talent that not too many people possess."

Paul Spicer, former Jaguars defensive lineman
"One of the things Fred meant to the team was everybody knew he held himself accountable.  You knew you could count on him.  There was never a question even with his injuries he had to battle through.  He had a lot of adversity throughout his career here.  When you battle through adversity and you come out better then you get nothing but respect.  That's just from man to man.  When you see another man go through what he went through and he comes out of still smiling, working hard, grinding, you have nothing but the utmost respect.  Any guy that has been here and put any time in such as myself, we love Fred and respect him for what he stands for.  He was the ultimate pro.  If you have a young son or a young player, you point to Fred and say, 'If you can emulate that then you can turn yourself into a great player.' That is what Fred did even through all the adversity that he overcame as a Jaguar."

Daryl Smith, Jaguars linebacker
"Fred was great on and off the field.  He was on the opposite side of the ball and we would talk, but he shared everything with us.  He would tell us what a running back would look for, he was so valuable to me with his insight of the game. He didn't care that you played on the other side of the ball. 

"He was a leader. He would tell all the guys about how to set up a routine, getting massages, seeing the chiropractor and all those different things.  He was one of the players that really helped me get into a routine.  He meant a lot to me personally and was a great teammate."

Vic Ketchman, former senior writer
"In the 40 years I've covered the NFL, Fred Taylor is without a doubt the most underrated player I have ever covered. My memories of his career are too many to recount, but it's not the long runs and touchdowns that I remember most fondly; it's the conversations I had with Fred that will always occupy a special place in my heart. I always went to his locker. I love his honesty. I found something in Fred that touched me, and when the "Fragile Fred" stuff started, which was concurrent with the Tank Black stuff that was hurting him so deeply, I marveled at Fred's strength and dignity in dealing with both.

"If there is one game memory I have of Fred, and it is for selfish reasons, it is of his record-breaking performance at Three Rivers Stadium in the 2000 season. I was sitting in that same press box in 1975 when O.J. Simpson ran wild. Twenty-five years later, I was watching Fred blow 'em all away: O.J., Franco, "The Bus" and any other great running back that ever toed that turf. That's when I knew Fred was special. Think of all the great backs that had played in that stadium. When they tore that place down, they cemented Fred's name forever in its record book. He will have forever run for more yards in a single game than for which any running back had ever rushed in the history of a stadium renowned for great performances. That's Fred's Hall of Fame right there.

"I'm not big on memorabilia. Only the most meaningful items are displayed in my study: a picture of Forbes Field autographed by Bill Mazeroski, a picture of Jacksonville Municipal Stadium from the Jaguars' inaugural game, my press box number-placard friends scraped off and sent me after the final game at Three Rivers. On one of the walls in my study at home is a picture of Fredautographed for me. It defines my years in Jacksonville. It is my hope that I see Fred at least one more time: In Canton, at his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame."

Jeff Lageman, former Jaguars defensive lineman and current Jaguars radio analyst
"The thing I remember most about Fred is when he came in here he was such a young, immature player from Florida.  To me the greatest pleasure in watching Fred was watching how he got better on the football field but more importantly how he matured as a man.  Coming in he had the gold teeth and was very shy and closed end then all of a sudden at the end he was probably one of the greatest interviews. 

"He is one of the greatest football players I have ever seen when he touches the ball. Every time he touched the ball he could go, he was a threat to score.  You can say that about very few guys.  Fred had elite speed to where you could legitimately say that about him. Every time he touched the ball he was a threat to score.   Not only was he a threat to score, but he had the greatest dead-leg, stutter step.  When he did that the defenders would choke it down somewhat and he had such superior acceleration to anybody.  If he just stuttered a little bit and that defender stuttered just for an instant, he was by him.  He would bounce it outside and the defender would have a perfect angle, he would stutter and then he's gone."

Tweets about Fred Taylor

One of the classiest, hardest-working (and most talented) players I&39;ve covered, @FredTaylorMade, retiring. Learned a lot from him.@SI_PeterKing (Sports Illustrated's Peter King)

Congrats to my good friend, and great ballplayer @FredTaylorMade retiring as a Jag.. Next stop HOF.. #IMO
@thurmanthomas (Hall of Fame running back Thurman Thomas)

I&39;ll be attending @FredTaylorMade&39;s retirement tomorrow. One of my favorite teammates ever and a great man! We love you Freddy T!
@JoshScobee10 (Jaguars kicker Josh Scobee)

S/O to Fred Taylor. A helluva running back & good dude! CONGRATS on a great & long career. Repin the class of 98&39;
@therealholliday (former NFL player Vonnie Holliday)

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content