Fred Taylor’s entertaining interview

Patriots running back Fred Taylor, who hasn’t played since early October, made some pretty entertaining comments during a conference call with the Jacksonville media. Here’s what he said, provided by the Patriots media relations staff. Click the full entry button for more of his comments.

On his comments about the Jaguars moving to L.A.
Taylor:
“I was asked a question on my opinion and what I thought. You know what, sometimes the truth hurts. I mean, I don’t know what — it’s not my decision first and foremost. But sometimes the truth hurts. It can be played either way; that the fans want the team, they have to show that they want the team to stay there. I’m a Jacksonville guy, I always have been and I always will be. I love the community. But according to the NFL, they’re going to move a team out there and I don’t know what’s going to be a decision-maker, or breaker, but you look at average attendances and what-have-you, at the end of the day, they’re going to find a team to take out there. It’s just that I was in that market for several years and I understand that some of the other owners as far as revenues and this and that, that they don’t, from my understanding, I don’t think they want to split that pot or certain pieces of the pot with smaller market teams. So they got to find an answer. But there’s several small market teams out there, I just came from one. So I said what I said. Part of it was me kind of being a funny guy but I don’t know if it came across — I don’t want to offend anyone, never do, I’ve never been that way. But you gotta be realistic. You got to step up to the plate, they (Jacksonville) need to have a “Step Up to the Plate” campaign, cause there are some great die-hard fans, absolutely. Then there are some that are fair-weather, you all know that. All in all, I hope whatever happens benefits the city at the end of the day as well as Mr. and Mrs. Weaver.”

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On if he’s challenging Jaguars fans to support the team:
Taylor:
“I mean, that’s about it. I’ve been there. It’s hard to play in an empty stadium. I’m sure a lot of the guys there, they’ll say it now. You come out of that tunnel and you see all the teal, the black — my first couple of years there — all the sorts of energy and chills just run through you. But when you come out and it’s an empty stadium, yeah you have a job to do, but it puts somewhat of a damper on it, you know. And times are hard, I’ve always said I wouldn’t want to pay my hard-earned money to go out and not watch great entertainment. But guys are fighting. And these are hard times in this day and age, with the recession and everything that’s going on, so that’s why I say it’s a very fine line between how the fans are feeling and what the players think.”

On the exchange of comments between him and coach (Jack) Del Rio about the Patriots watching more game film and having more veteran leadership:
Taylor:
“I hate reality TV, I don’t want to air out any dirty laundry in the media. No seriously, I didn’t say the Patriots as a whole, first and foremost, I was talking about our individual position groups. What these guys have been doing traditionally after work — only on Wednesdays as a matter of fact — group of guys will get together from an offensive standpoint for about an hour, hour and a half or so, just watch some additional stuff. And not only that, Coach Belichick, the way he coaches, when he’s coming in Wednesday, he’s going to ask tons and tons of questions. So a lot of that is provoked from the way he coaches. You know, he wants answers when you come in Wednesday as well as Thursday or just out of the blue, ‘Hey what have you learned about this team, etc.’ So you’re kind of almost, not necessarily forced into it, but you have to be up on your stuff. Not saying that we didn’t watch enough film in Jax, you know and I’ve even said that I regret not watching enough. I play running back. My job is reaction and being instinctive and I think I’ve done a hell of a job at that throughout my career. I’ll watch film to see how a linebacker attacks, see how a safety tackles, how a defensive line plays and I will go from there. But ninety percent of my job is reaction. I don’t have to watch a ton of film. But it’s just that coming here, trying to fit in with the guys, as well as learn the system. So it’s not necessarily that I had to be in those film sessions with those guys, but it just felt right to be there. And unfortunately, however it was displayed to Jack (Del Rio), it’s kind of like a text message. He didn’t hear my tone, he didn’t know if I was laughing or joking, he didn’t hear any of that. It’s unfair to me, for his comments, but I’m not getting into that. And we’re men, we’ll talk. I have nothing but the utmost respect for Jack. He’s an NFL coach in a lucrative business — the NFL — so I respect him a whole lot, always have, always will.”

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On if he was taking a shot at Del Rio:
Taylor:
“Never. Never. He’s done an outstanding job. He’s still a young coach and will get better. He’s shown glimpses of being a very good coach. I would never take a shot at him. Why would I? My number one thing is you never burn bridges. I plan on being around football for the rest of my life. Why would I burn bridges? I don’t know if I run into that guy some day, or vice versa. So I would never say that, even if I felt that way, why would I? Business first. It’s a business first.”


On why so many former Jaguars leave Jacksonville on reportedly bad terms with Del Rio:


Taylor:
“I can’t speak for those guys. I didn’t leave on bad terms. It’s just that two instances where because of him not knowing my tone or it wasn’t on camera, he would’ve known, or he should’ve known, being the type of guy that I was, which I thought I was a first-class, stand-up type of guy throughout my career there, never a trouble guy, and the comments made about maybe I wasn’t that type of veteran leader — I thought I was. By my actions — I’ve always said I led by actions. And talking to the guys, through experiences, the business side of the game, which can really beat you down as a player. And I would talk to the young guys — and I’m sure each of the young guys there can vouch for me on the type of veteran leader I was. But at the same time, because he didn’t hear the tone, the perception is, ‘Maybe Fred was talking down on us,’ and I wasn’t. I never will. I’m going to be a Jaguar the rest of my life. I never will do that. So a couple of the guys caught me after practice and said, ‘Hey Fred, it’s your fault we’re in these pads back to back.’ It was funny to me. It was funny because the only thing I said was, ‘We couldn’t have done two-a-days, twice a day, every day in Jacksonville in full pads because of the heat.’ Smart coaches don’t do that and that’s why I said that. We would have all died out there. It wouldn’t be smart for the team. I wasn’t saying that we ‘couldn’t’ do it. Of course we were a physical tough team and we could. It’s just that the weather here is so cool, guys here would come to me and say, ‘Fred it’s hot out there,’ and I’d be smirking under my breath like, ‘Yeah right.’ So that’s it. It’s just a misunderstanding. I’m so much of a bigger man than that. Maybe back in the day I would have fired off something. But Jack’s cool with me, I promise he is.”

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On if he’s going to be playing this weekend:
Taylor:
“Can’t ask that type of question. I control this interview, you can’t ask that type of question. Vic, what you have to do now is grab one of those Staples ‘Easy Buttons’ and you need to press that ‘Easy Button.’ Take it easy. I’m questionable. 50-50 chance.”

On his injury and his expectations for the remainder of his career:
Taylor:
“I’m still in stride. Unfortunately I hit a pretty big hurdle and I didn’t expect it but throughout my career I’ve learned how to deal with this like nothing. I’m just trying to stay positive, trying not to be frustrated by it all. I’m still full-speed ahead. My goals are still in place. [I] definitely would love to play as long as I can — try and win a championship as well as catch Jim Brown. Like I said, I respect him to the fullest. In regards to what people have said about my career, I think that’s a great accomplishment. So I’d like to continue playing. I don’t know what the future holds. Everything is in God’s hands but I’m going to stay positive, keep grinding it out, like I always have and see what happens.”

On if it’s different playing for a team that has an established star quarterback in Tom Brady:
Taylor:
“I think several of the guys that have been across that ultimate stage of winning the championship, they just somehow become a little more assertive, a little more attentive because it’s easier to buy in when it’s proven. You don’t think anyone is just throwing hot air or whatever. But Tom, he’s a very good person at the end of the day. I think he treats everyone fairly across the board, even the guys that come in as scout team guys, practice squad guys. He demands a lot from the offense. He’s just another coach out there. He pays a lot of attention in detail to everything that’s going on. He demands perfection, you know, in the play-action and your routes, and just in everything. That’s just the type of guy he is. So guys try to step up to the plate and be on his level. I guess that’s what makes the team click or go.”

On if he thought at the beginning of the year, seeing this game on the schedule, if he thought the Jaguars would be fighting for a playoff spot:
Taylor:
“A couple of the guys there can vouch for me on this, and this is all in fun and they would say that, and you guys hear the tone in my voice so don’t print anything crazy (laughs). I would tease the guys and say, ‘I hope you guys are 2-12 with nothing to play for by the time December 27th comes around.’ On the flip side of that, I would say, ‘I hope you have a shot at making the playoffs, with us having the opportunity to knock you out.’ That would always just be different scenarios we would draw up and kind of tease and this and that. A couple of guys can vouch for me on that particular story but I didn’t know what to expect. But here we are, the game is here. People are telling us, make it ‘Fred Taylor vs. the Jaguars,’ but it’s ‘the Jaguars vs. the Patriots.’ That’s what’s important.”

On if he thinks the Patriots can make it into the playoffs and put it together to play for the Super Bowl and realize Taylor’s goal of a championship:
Taylor:
“All of that is possible but more importantly is this week, this game. I have to prepare myself today, tomorrow, as well as Sunday to win this game. It’s been about nine years since we won — or since I was able to win a division championship — my first two years and hadn’t seen one after that, although we made the playoffs. That’s more important than looking past this game because right now that’s what it’s all about.”

On how long it took him to get over being cut from the Jaguars:
Taylor:
“Well, I kept one thing as motivation. That was the letter that they send you after they release you, saying why they released you. It went something like I wasn’t able to perform up to the level of the players around me. That was the only thing that kind of made me hold onto me getting cut a little longer. It made it a little harder to swallow and it definitely motivated me in my workouts. I got over it fairly quick, I think. Knowing that it’s a business – that helped me to ease the pain a bit. But it is what it is right now, I’m here now, I’m in the moment and that’s what it is. It’d be hard to find a lot of young guys that can do what I do at the age that I’m doing it. But I still feel like I can do what they do at the age that they are now.”

On if he wants to play in this game against the Jaguars more than others, if there’s more motivation to get back:
Taylor:
“I think if it were the Detroit Lions, I would prepare the same. I’ve always teased my old teammates, and half of them aren’t there now, about, ‘Hey man, I’d tear you all up.’ You know after a hard day of practice, defense is woo-wooing and popping off, talking smack, you know, you have those little sessions where, ‘Man, I’d tear you apart, I’d rip you a new whatever, whatever.’ I’ve always told those guys that just so they know how confident I am about my game. It has no implications on how I feel going into this game, being that it’s them, that’s not what’s important.”

On if he thinks there’ll be a team in Jacksonville in 10 years:
Taylor:
“That’s just the reverse way of asking me if the team is going to be out of there, right? I really don’t get paid to think. I just react, right? Remember I said that, I react. Too much thinking can cause a lot of trouble. I don’t know. Like I said, I really don’t know. Whatever is going to benefit Mr. and Mrs. Weaver and the NFL, I think, that’s where you’ll probably find your answer. I mean, I really don’t know.”

On how many more years he thinks he can play:
Taylor:
“A few more. As long as I like, I’ve always said that. I don’t know. I don’t know how many more I’m going to play but I’m sure I can play a few more — three, four, whatever.”

On if he’ll play until they throw him out:
Taylor:
“No, I’ve always said that but I think financially I’m okay. Getting into this game a lot of it has to do with that. A lot of guys try to sugarcoat it but realistically, you have to be financially set, a lot of guys, before they leave this game. (But 20 years like Junior Seau) I couldn’t do it. I will not do it. Everyone does it for whatever reason they do it for. But a couple more years I think I’ll be closing the final chapter and I think I’ll be able to look back with no regrets and leave the game peacefully.”

On when he’s going to write his book:
Taylor:
“I don’t know. Do you have any good authors for me? Good co-writers?”