Former Dolphin Jason Taylor recently spoke with Jesse Agler about joining ESPN and whether he thinks participating in HBO’s Hard Knocks is a good idea. Here is what he had to say:
“So far, so good. It is still a little weird to hear ‘ex-Miami Dolphin,’ but life is good. I can’t complain.”
On his new job with ESPN
“It is a great opportunity to work with the worldwide leader [in sports] and get a chance to analyze the game from the other side of the desk, so to speak. It will be fun and I look forward to it. I am not very far removed from the game, so I still have a pretty good understanding of the guys and the schemes. I look forward to sharing it with the fans, as elementary as I can.”
On Hard Knocks
“I do think it is a good idea, I have said that for years. Obviously, the old regime, the guys who called the shots in the past, were against it. So it is good to see the change of philosophy and the change in approach and in accessibility. This day in age, with the state the team has been in for a while, it is great to open up and give the fans more access and show them the inner workings of an NFL team.
“I have been through the Hard Knocks thing with the New York Jets and it was a great experience for us. The first day or two there are cameras everywhere and you are aware of them. They are in the meeting rooms, they are in the weight rooms, and they are all over the practice fields. They are in places you would not normally have access. You see that for first day or two, but trust me, it goes away. They blend in very well. They are very professional with their approach and I think they do a very good job of portraying the franchise in a great light. They are not there to create controversy or make you look bad. They are there to show a different side of training camp. I think it is great for the Fins, the fans, the players and it will not, in any way, affect the outcome on the field. I hear some fans talking about the ‘Hard Knocks curse,’ but in New York we made the AFC Championship Game the year we did Hard Knocks, so it did not help nor did it hinder our progress on the field.”
On who could be a star on Hard Knocks
“I think as far as the show goes, the storyline is going to go after the guys on the outside looking in and some players overcoming things. The Cam Wake story years ago would have been great for Hard Knocks, coming from Canada and having a chance to make the NFL roster. Those kinds of things always portray very well on the show. Reggie Bush, with his crossover appeal, will be a star on it. The quarterback situation will take the headlines with Ryan Tanneheill coming in and Matt Moore and David Garrard there. I hear a lot of buzz about Tannehill’s wife and coming to Miami and the buzz around that. So there are things that I think will dominate the storylines. Ochocinco is now there and he has never been camera shy, so I am sure he will be on the camera a little bit. There will be an entertainment side to it, but at the end of the day, I have not watched the show; I have only experienced it, and I think the interworking of the organization, how training camp goes and how it is run in Miami and the Miami scene, will provide great for TV.
On keeping in touch with his former teammates
“It will change. It is inevitable that it will change somewhat because I am not there anymore, but those guys will always be friends and I will always be here for them if they ever need anything. I do talk to Cam from time to time. I talk to Koa Misi a good bit and Jason Trusnik. Vernon Carey, I have seen. I keep in touch with a lot of the guys on Twitter now, like you said, I have done some Twitter work a little bit. The relationships will change a little bit because I am not in the locker room from a day-to-day basis, but I would go to battle with those guys any day.”
On not being on the field for the first Dolphins game
“I’m sure it will be strange. This time of year while they are doing the OTA’s and mini camp and those things, you do not feel like you’re missing out. I miss a lot of those things, but I’m sure as the season comes along and the games come around I will miss it more. There is nothing like the competition, there is nothing like Sundays and being in the locker room with the guys and experiencing everything and feeling that brotherhood that exists in the NFL. I will miss it and there will be feelings of sadness I’m sure, a little bit. The itch will never go away. I saw Dan Marino last night at the event up here in Pittsburgh, and we talk about the game a little bit every time we see each other. You never lose the competitiveness; you never lose the desire to play. Sometimes it is just time to walk away. Your body cannot do it forever. I will not be on the field, but I will never be too far away.”
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