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Fred Taylor Says Jack Del Rio is Not Fit to Be a Head Coach

Jack Del Rio had the Jaguars organization fooled from 2003 into 2011.  Why?  Because he was the Jags’ head coach.  According to former Pro Bowler Fred Taylor, Del Rio is not fit for that position.

“At the end of the day, he’s not a head coach,” Taylor said according to The Post Game. “He’s a great defensive coach. But he’s not a head coach.”

If the rumors about Del Rio showing up to team facilities at 9 a.m. routinely are true, he was no longer fit to be the head coach in Jacksonville.  As for whether or not he is fit to be a head coach at any level, that remains to be seen if he gets another opportunity.  However, Taylor insists Del Rio had a way of mismanaging his players and not giving guys the benefit of the doubt.

“Why do you think I’m not there?” he asked. “There wasn’t any falloff in my production. I expressed my willingness to take a paycut. I just wanted to be there and be a part of the community. I wanted to finish my career there. Just because we had this new running back. All we had to do was switch roles. ‘Fred, Maurice [Jones-Drew] is going to be the starter.’ Fine, no problem. I wasn’t a virus in the locker room. I worked my ass off — everything.”

Taylor said it was a “gray area” in Del Rio’s personality that made him difficult to play under.  Unlike Bill Belichick and Tom Coughlin — former head coaches of Taylor’s that aren’t afraid to put any player in line at any moment — he said Del Rio would be your best friend one day and the next he would be cutting someone a month before the season began (David Garrard).

It is important to note, however, that there are players who supported Del Rio.  Mike Sims Walker, who spent three seasons with Jacksonville before signing with the Rams and returning to the Jags after he was released, sent out a tweet on Tuesday praising his former coach. Clearly like any other player-coach relationship in the NFL, individual experiences have varied in Jacksonville.

Fred Taylor Should Have Listened to Jim Brown

Fred Taylor may be one of the top 20 career rushing leaders, but that didn’t help him reach a Pro Bowl until his 10th year in the league. Fred used to say that making the Pro Bowl didn’t matter to him, adding that he ignores criticism from the media. Why is that the case? Taylor always said he didn’t need validation from the media because he had the respect of the one man who mattered — Jim Brown, who told Fred he liked the way he ran. Jim Brown also had this famous line to say in his autobiography, Out of Bounds:

“Two things I always knew about my league, the NFL: You don’t ask for favors, you don’t hang around. A man might love the game, but the game loves no one. The game will use what he has, [then] discard him. The sh– isn’t personal.”

That line was last brought up in Jim Trotter’s article about LaDainian Tomlinson’s negotiations this offseason with the Chargers. It’s also quite applicable to Taylor’s situation with the Jags — after 11 seasons with the team, he finally was released Monday. Rather than hanging on a year too long, long enough to get burned by injuries caused by the game, Taylor should have walked away after the ’07 season when he was on top. It was that season that he made the Pro Bowl — the first of his career — rushing for 5.4 yards per carry, which was the highest of his career. Taylor could have gone out on top, like Jim Brown, and avoided this spectacle. Now he must beg for a team to pick him up for what is likely one last year, or decide to retire. Either way, the game did not end on his terms.

Fred Taylor Is Sick of Reggie Bush

No, this isn’t some elaborate quote of Fred Taylor running his mouth because the Jags are facing the Saints this week. It’s something small, that probably went unnoticed by most. In the latest issue of Sports Illustrated, Fred Taylor was one of the four athletes quizzed in the “Pop Culture Grid.” One of the topics was “Most annoying TV commercial.” Fred didn’t pick on an AFLAC or Dr. Scholls commercial like some of the other players. Oh no. Instead, Fred got creative. His response:

I am tired of seeing Reggie Bush.

Pretty harsh words, if you ask me. Fred clearly is a man who keeps score of commercials and endorsements. He’s had a wonderful NFL career, and judging by his lack of Pro Bowl appearances, he’s flown under the radar for most fans and pundits. It obviously stings him to see an inferior player who’s done nothing of note in the league getting all kinds of attention. Funny enough, it looks like Fred isn’t the only person getting sick of Reggie Bush, who is no longer the golden child of the NFL.

Video of Fred Taylor’s Africa Plane Flight, ‘Near Death Experience’

Earlier in the week, I told you about NFL player Fred Taylor’s plane flight where the door opened up mid-flight, creating a situation he described as being “near death.” Taylor was not the only NFL player aboard the flight; so were Samari Rolle, Lito Sheppard, and their wives. But another person on the flight was dbinetti, who left a comment to say he had footage of the experience. And without further ado, here it is:

Granted, that doesn’t look as horrible as Taylor made it out to be, but I wouldn’t want to be anywhere near a situation like that. I mean, you can just hear how dangerous the situation was with the door being open. Check out the description of the video, courtesy of dbinetti:

My wife and I were traveling back from a resort in Kruger National Park on this small propeller plane when the door flew open. We were on the flight with some NFL players — Fred Taylor of the Jaguars, Samari Rolle of the Ravens, and Lito Sheppard of the Eagles. We apparently weren’t in any serious danger, but it was frightening experience nonetheless — it’s not every day you have a door fly open in a small plane over Africa…

For the record, nobody “panicked” or was in danger of “falling out the plane”, as I’ve read in plenty of blogs (amazing how much the story got embellished!) We all were happy to land safely and said a prayer or two, for sure…

BTW, I can also say that all three of those guys and their wives were just the nicest bunch of people you could ever hope to meet — both before and after this incident. The NFL should be proud to have them represent their organization, because they handled themselves with class throughout a fairly harrowing experience.

Going by dbinetti’s account of the event, either the press exaggerated Taylor’s story, or Fred did. Regardless, it’s not a situation I would ever like to find myself in.

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Fred Taylor’s Near Death Experience

I know athletes have special clauses in their contracts which prevent them from doing certain activities. For instance, most players are not allowed to wakeboard, snowboard, hunt, ride a motorcycle, or do anything else that can be considered extreme or dangerous. Not on that list however, is flying on a plane — which is a normal occurrence for most athletes. But maybe it should be, at least in Fred Taylor’s case:

Jaguars running back Fred Taylor boarded the single-propeller, 15-seat plane in Africa, chatting about the safari he had just been on with Samari Rolle, Lito Sheppard and their wives.

A few minutes later, the group shared another unforgettable experience.

The plane door flew open at around 6,000 feet, causing panic and prayer before the pilot landed at a nearby runway.

“I thought that was it,” Taylor said Monday following the final day of Jacksonville’s three-day minicamp. “I put my head down and started praying. The runway was about two miles away, but it seemed like it took 10 or 15 minutes to get there.”

Taylor joked that it was the first time he felt like he was near death “since I was playing for (coach Tom) Coughlin.”

Gotta love that shot in there on Tom Coughlin. I guess players must really hate the man. But dang, what do you do when the freaking door of your plane opens up and you’re at 6,000 freakin feet? I can only refer to one of my favorite movies, Mallrats, at a time like this. It was in that movie that Brodie, being played by Jason Lee, told a hilarious story about his cousin who was on a plane when the hydraulics went out. Not knowing what to do, all the passengers took a cue from Brodie’s cousin and pulled out their pieces, beating off like mad while plummeting to their certain death. But then, the hydraulics kicked back in, leaving for an extremely awkward moment, at which point every one tucked their pieces back in, and swore never to speak of the incident again. Somehow I don’t think that was the case for Fred, but I was at a loss for synapses in my mind. Sorry.