Could Jason Taylor become a Patriot after his one-year deal with the Dolphins expires this winter?
Never say never.
"We値l see what happens after the season痴 over," Taylor just said on a conference call. "I know my deal ends at the end of the year and we値l reevaluate at the end of the year, and what the teams are wanting to do and go from there. You never close off any of your options, you don稚 burn any bridges and you always keep an open mind."
The articulate veteran did talk about the Patriots, and coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady, in reverential terms. And the feeling is mutual. After the Patriots beat Miami in November, Belichick, miked up for the game, was heard saying to Taylor: "You'll be in the Hall of Fame someday."
"It means a lot to me," Taylor said. "To get respect like that from somebody like Bill Belichick is very flattering. It's humbling. It's very appreciated. I've said over the years how much respect I have for Belichick and a lot of the guys on that team and the organization as a whole up there in New England.
"To get a compliment from Bill like that means a lot. I've never had a chance to play for him, but listening to him talk and how he carries himself in interviews, he kind of throws around compliments like manhole covers. It means a lot."
As we covered a few weeks back, Taylor came pretty close to signing with the Patriots last year. In fact, it was close enough that the failure to sign Taylor, in many ways, forced New England to find another veteran edge rusher -- in this case, Derrick Burgess -- on the trade market.
In the end, changing circumstances and family commitments pushed Taylor back home to the Dolphins. But he appreciated the interest from New England.
"No regrets. I have no regrets," Taylor said. "I知 here in Miami, I知 happy, I知 home. It meant a lot to me that coach Belichick and Mr. Kraft and the organization would have me there. But it was meant for me to be here, and I値l leave it at that."
Still, even now at 35, Taylor says that his desire to play has gone nowhere.
So the possibility's still out there he could eventually land here with Belichick and his buddy Brady, should the Dolphins decide to part ways with him, with young OLB Cameron Wake coming on. At the very least, it's a situation worth keeping an eye on down the road.
"I don稚 want to be a hindrance to a team or hold a team back, but I know I can play, I知 enjoying it and it痴 December and I知 feeling great and healthy," Taylor said. "And I値l go as long as it works out."