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Fred Taylor's entertaining interview

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff  December 23, 2009 07:00 PM

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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."

On if he's going to be playing this weekend:
"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:
"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:
"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:
"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:
"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:
"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:
"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:
"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:
"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:
"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:
"I don't know. Do you have any good authors for me? Good co-writers?"

News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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