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Scott Procter Scott Procter BVM Sports Senior Editor/Journalist
Jaguars legend Fred Taylor belongs in the Hall of Fame

Jaguars legend Fred Taylor belongs in the Hall of Fame

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (BVM) – There aren’t many athletes who mean more to the state of Florida than Fred Taylor. A standout at the high school, collegiate and professional level in the Sunshine State, Taylor’s penchant for racking up big yards and scoring touchdowns made him one of the most beloved players in Jacksonville Jaguars’ history.

After over 11,000 career rushing yards and 13 NFL seasons, Taylor’s Pro Football Hall of Fame case is as good as anyone from the 2000s.

Fred Taylor’s early life

Born in Pahokee, Florida, Taylor was primarily raised by his grandmother and attended Glades Central High School in Belle Glade, Florida. He initially played linebacker for the Raiders before switching over to running back as a junior. Taylor ran for 1,700 yards and 22 touchdowns — including a 301-yard, five-touchdown performance – as a senior and received Florida “Super Senior” honors. He would be recognized as one of the “100 Greatest Players of the First 100 Years” of Florida High School football by the FHSAA in 2007, 13 years after he graduated from high school.

The standout running back – who was also a track star and clocked a 4.28 40-yard dash – remained in-state to play for Steve Spurrier and the Florida Gators.

Fred Taylor’s college career

Taylor started two games for the Gators as a freshman in 1994 when he picked up 873 yards and eight touchdowns for his most productive collegiate season until his senior year. He played in 13 games over the next two seasons, racking up a combined 910 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns, and helped the 12-1 Gators win the national championship as a junior. As a senior team captain in 1997, Taylor led the team in rushing with 1,292 yards, 13 touchdowns and earned first-team All-SEC honors.

Taylor finished his Florida career with 3,075 yards and 31 touchdowns, good for fourth in program history. He was inducted into the Florida-Georgia Hall of Fame in 2008 and the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame as a “Gator Great” two years later.

Fred Taylor’s NFL career

Taylor was drafted by his home-state Jacksonville Jaguars with the ninth overall pick in the 1998 NFL Draft and immediately made an impact. He started 12 of 15 games for the Jaguars as a rookie, rushing for 1,223 yards and 14 touchdowns (career high) while adding another 421 yards and three scores through the air. Taylor missed six games the next season due to a hamstring injury but still posted a pair of 100-yard rushing performances in the playoffs and recorded the longest run in playoff history with a 90-yard touchdown during a 62-7 win over Miami.

From 1999-2001, Taylor missed 23 out of a potential 48 games which caused fans and media alike to question his toughness and give him the nickname “Fragile Fred.” But Taylor bounced back in 2002, starting all 16 games for the Jaguars and finishing the season with 1,314 (third most in team history) while setting a then-team record with 1,722 yards from scrimmage. He started all 16 games for the Jaguars again in 2003 before his streak of 46 consecutive starts ended late in the 2004 season when a knee injury sidelined him for the final two weeks of the season.

Injuries hampered Taylor again in 2005 (he still led the team with 787 rushing yards) before he was joined by Maurice Jones-Drew – Jacksonville’s second-round pick in the 2006 NFL Draft and Taylor’s eventual replacement – in the Jaguars’ backfield. Taylor started 15 games during the 2006 season despite splitting carries throughout the season and the duo combined for 2,087 yards, the most by two rushers in Jaguars history.

A team captain in 2007, Taylor rushed for 1,202 yards and on November 11 of that season, surpassed 10,000 career rushing yards. He was named to the AP second-team All-Pro team and the 2008 Pro Bowl as an injury replacement, the first such honor of his career. Taylor started 13 games in his final season with the Jaguars in 2008, surpassing both the 11,000 career rushing yards and 13,000 career all-purpose yards milestones.

Taylor was released by the Jaguars in February of 2009 after 11 seasons with the team but less than two weeks later, the New England Patriots signed him to a two-year contract. An early-season ankle injury limited Taylor’s 2009 action in New England to just a few games before playing in just seven games as a reserve in 2010.

On Sept. 2, 2011, Taylor signed a one-day contract with the Jaguars to formally retire from the franchise that drafted him. The next year, the Jaguars announced that Taylor would become just the second player inducted into the Pride of the Jaguars.

Fred Taylor’s net worth, career earnings

Taylor earned nearly $41 million during his 13-year NFL career, according to Spotrac, including a significant signing bonus with each contract. But following the 2001 season, Taylor’s agent, William “Tank” Black, was alleged to have stolen between $12 million and $14 million from players he represented and nearly all of Taylor’s original $5 million signing bonus ($3.6 million), the only guaranteed money in his rookie contract. Black went to prison and Taylor later admitted that he nearly retired from football early in his career around this time due to difficulties with injuries and Black.

Nonetheless, Taylor’s net worth is estimated at $12 million.

Fred Taylor’s “The Pivot” podcast

Taylor was a prominent member of Brandon Marshall’s “I AM ATHLETE” podcast alongside former NFL pros Chad Johnson and Channing Crowder, however, after a business disagreement, Taylor and Crowder decided to revamp with former Pittsburgh Steeler and ESPN NFL analyst Ryan Clark on “The Pivot.” From Cam Newton to Shaquille O’Neal, Taylor and “The Pivot” gives athletes the opportunity to create and shape their own narratives.

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