FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - The New England Patriots signed veteran running back Fred Taylor today. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
"I have tremendous respect for Fred Taylor, both as a person and as a player whose production is outstanding," said Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick. "I look forward to working with Fred as he joins the rest of our running back group."
Taylor, 33, joins the Patriots after spending his first 11 seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars (1998-2008). The 6-foot-1-inch, 228-pound running back has totaled 11,271 career rushing yards, placing him 16th on the NFL's all-time career rushing list and third among all active players. Taylor has a career average of 4.64 yards per carry (11,271 yards on 2,428 attempts), placing him second among active players (Frank Gore, 4.73) and fifth all-time among the 24 players with 10,000 or more career rushing yards. He has averaged 97.4 yards from scrimmage per game over his career (13,362 yards in 140 games), ranking fifth among all active players. Taylor is the Jaguars' all-time leader in rushing yards (11,271), yards from scrimmage (13,632), rushing touchdowns (62), overall touchdowns (70) and 100-yard rushing games (48). He has had 326 career rushes of 10 yards or longer, a total that leads all active players and ranks fifth all-time. In his 11-year career, the University of Florida product has played in 140 games with 136 starts, has recorded 2,428 rushes for 11,271 yards (4.6 avg.) and 62 touchdowns, and has caught 286 passes for 2,361 yards (8.3 avg.) and eight touchdowns. He earned his first career Pro Bowl selection in 2007.
Taylor was originally drafted by the Jaguars in the first round (ninth overall) of the 1998 NFL Draft. As a rookie in 1998, he recorded 14 rushing touchdowns and 17 overall touchdowns, with both figures still standing as career highs and Jaguars team records. Taylor also led all NFL rookies with 1,223 rushing yards and 1,644 yards from scrimmage. In the 1998 playoffs, he ran for 162 yards in the Jaguars' wild card round victory over the Patriots. In 1999, he was solid in the playoffs once again, breaking the 100-yard rushing mark in both of Jacksonville's postseason games and recording the longest run in NFL playoff history - a 90-yard touchdown against Miami on Jan. 15, 2000. In 2000, Taylor recorded 1,639 yards from scrimmage (1,399 rushing and 240 receiving), 14 touchdowns (12 rushing, two receiving) and set a career-high with a Jaguars-record 234 rushing yards in a game against Pittsburgh on Nov. 19, 2000. After missing 14 games with a groin injury in 2001, he put together a three-year run (2002-04) during which he averaged more than 1,700 scrimmage yards per year. In 2002, he had 1,722 yards from scrimmage (1,314 rushing and a career-high 408 receiving). Then in 2003, he turned in a career-high 1,942 scrimmage yards, including a career-best 1,572 rushing yards and a career-high seven 100-yard rushing games. In 2004, he had his third straight 1,000-yard rushing season, totaling 1,224 rushing yards and 1,569 yards from scrimmage. After playing in 11 games in 2005 and leading the team with 787 rushing yards, Taylor broke the 1,000-yard rushing mark again in 2006, leading the team with 1,146 rushing yards. He earned his first career Pro Bowl nod in 2007, leading the team with 1,202 rushing yards and finishing the year with five straight 100-yard rushing games. Last season, Taylor played in 13 games and had 556 yards on 143 carries.