FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- A relaxed Jason Taylor sounded more amenable to returning to the Miami Dolphins on Wednesday as he spoke to reporters during a short break at his annual football camp for South Florida kids.
Taylor, 34, was flattered to hear that current Dolphins players such as outside linebacker Joey Porter and quarterback
Chad Pennington have expressed their support for the 12-year veteran defensive end to step back into the aqua and orange uniform. While Taylor hasn't specified nor ruled out any other teams as potential destinations, he certainly appears excited by the thought of lining up on the opposite side of Porter in Miami's 3-4 defensive scheme.
"It's great that (Porter) wants me to come back, and I know there are things we can do together," said Taylor, who was released by the Washington Redskins earlier this offseason after one injury-plagued season following his trade from the Dolphins. "Us being on the opposite sides of each other can obviously work in the right situation, but that's for neither one of us to say, really."
Dolphins vice president of football operations Bill Parcells and general manager Jeff Ireland, along with head coach Tony Sparano, will be the ones to make the decision whether or not to pursue Taylor. Both parties have met and talked since Taylor's release, but he wouldn't go into detail on what was discussed.
Ireland did indicate last week during a press conference that any course of action in regards to Taylor likely won't happen until after the draft when he, Parcells and Sparano have a better idea how the Dolphins' roster is shaping up and what their remaining needs will be. How much room Miami has left under the salary cap also will be a factor, and while Taylor pointed to the $8.5 million he left on the table in Washington as an example of what little emphasis he puts on money, he also admitted he wouldn't play for the league minimum.
"I don't think I'm a minimum player," Taylor said. "There is a business side to this thing, too. You're not just going to mortgage the farm to go play in a certain position. There is fair compensation. I did walk away from a lot of money, but at the same time you still should get paid for the services you provide, and the most important thing is to be in the system where you can contribute and feel like you did something and like you belong."
Taylor spent his first 11 seasons in Miami as a defensive end and was named the 2006 NFL Defensive Player of the Year. To be able to finish his career with the team that gave him his start and in the city where his wife and children still live is something that has become increasingly important to Taylor, but he is willing to wait it out.
"There are opportunities out there right now," said Taylor, who told potential suitors back in late February and in early March that he'd like to get into camp as soon as possible. "There are teams I can call back and get some things working with, but right now, we're waiting to see what unfolds in the draft, and if somebody wants me, they can call and we can talk. It's as simple as that."
However, Taylor indicated that he might not pick up the phone if the New York Jets were on the other end of the line. Taylor has said unkind things in the past about fans of the Dolphins' AFC East rivals and said Wednesday that if the Jets were the only team interested in him, it would be a difficult decision between playing in New York and retirement.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press