A Brief Jason Taylor Update

Photo by Ned Dishman

Photo by Ned Dishman

Jason Taylor just stopped to update the remaining media members on his current situation, after Coach Zorn mentioned the likelihood of a Monday procedure on his calf. Here is just about the full text of his quote before departing.

To be honest, I don’t even know what the gameplan is right now. I’m going to the hospital now to find out what we’re going to do, and the only thing I’m focused on right now is hopefully playing in the game on Sunday and trying to help this team beat the Lions. The rest of that stuff doesn’t really matter right now.

There’s been a slight change, and that’s part of the reason we’re [discussing this]. I really don’t know any details, so I can’t give you any details. Like I said, I’m going to go see the doctor at the hospital now, and try to beat the Lions on Sunday.


Wednesday, September 24: Movie Night With Jason Taylor (and a Short Review of The Express)

Usually, when someone in a movie theater full of high school kids says “Turn your cell phone ringers off,” it’s viewed by the audience as at best a polite suggestion, and at worst as some sort of ridiculous joke. But no cell phones interrupted last night’s advance screening of The Express: The Ernie Davis Story. Maybe it’s because the guy issuing the instruction was six and a half feet tall and 244 pounds, or maybe it’s just because he was Jason Taylor.

Taylor isn’t taking on a side job as he recovers from his recent surgery; the screening was part of the Jason Taylor Foundation’s “Big Screens-Big Dreams” program. The program is another that Taylor has had success with in Florida — he shows films designed to “inspire and motivate” young people and speaks to the group before and after the film.

Joining Taylor at the screening was the star of the film, Rob Brown, who had flown back from Los Angeles just to accommodate Taylor’s request — and this despite being an avowed fan of the New York Giants.

The movie tells the story of Ernie Davis, the Syracuse University running back who became the first African-American to win the Heisman Trophy. Davis had been on the verge of becoming one of those unjustly forgotten heroes of American sports, and the film was made largely to prevent that from happening.

“I played college football,” said Brown, introducing the film to the crowd (almost all of whom were high school football players), “and I was surprised that I didn’t know about Ernie, seeing that a lot of his work led to me being successful as a black man on a college campus. I’m just happy the film is [coming] out now so people will know his story, much like people know Jackie Robinson’s story even though most people in the room, myself included, aren’t old enough to remember him.”

Taylor concurred. “For Ernie Davis to come in and overcome the things he had to overcome, it really set the stage for us nowadays – for me as a professional athlete and for you as high school athletes. And not just in athletics, but in life.”

There are SPOILERS for The Express — or at least the life of Ernie Davis — after the jump. If you’re excited for the movie and want to go in knowing nothing about Davis, you might want to quit now. You’ve been warned.

Continue reading

Zorn Press Conference: Killing A Mood

The mood heading into Coach Zorn’s press conference today was fairly light-hearted, as you’d expect. It’s the day after a win, the second straight. It’s a light day of work for the players, which also makes things easier on the media. And even the weather here in Ashburn is gorgeous. Which made the first bit of news out of Zorn’s mouth seem like a real downer.

  • Jason Taylor out for at least one game. Apparently Taylor got kicked in the calf during the second quarter of yesterday’s game. No one thought much of it, and he continued to play — the worst anyone assumed was charlie horse. The symptoms got worse as the night progressed, though, and Taylor went to the hospital late. They discovered that he was suffering from compartmental syndrome, which the internet makes sound characteristically terrifying, but which can apparently be handled with a quick procedure, about 20 minutes. “He’s gonna be fine,” Zorn said. “Our problem is, he’s gonna be out for this Dallas game and we’re not sure beyond that.” Zorn followed this up with a brief anatomy lesson, describing the various muscles in the calf, but the mood was pretty much already shot.
  • There were a couple of lighter moments in the press conference — asked why the team runs to the left so much, Zorn imitated the reporter, saying, “‘Gosh! They’re running to the left a lot!’ Well, we’ve got an all-pro left tackle!” — but even those turned sort of grim. Zorn followed up the compliment for Samuels by noting that Stephon Heyer wouldn’t practice if there was practice today, and that if he can’t go before Friday, he’s not playing.
  • As far as the safety question, Zorn said, “I think we’re still with Reed [Doughty]. I haven’t heard anything different, and I haven’t thought anything different.” He said that he saw Doughty limping, which was why Chris Horton played more of the second half.

Not really the lighthearted celebration of a win that I had expected and hoped for.

Tuesday, September 9: Shopping With the Stars

Last night, the Jason Taylor Foundation, in partnership with the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation, hosted their “Cool Gear For The School Year” shopping program at Old Navy in Leesburg.

The event provides 60 area kids with a $300 shopping trip to Old Navy, where they’re accompanied by local athletes, cheerleaders, and media. Taylor started the event in 2005 in Miami, and he’s brought it here as part of the process of making the DC area “feel more like home and not just a work stop.”

Students were paired with celebrities and given an hour to shop their way around Old Navy. Each pair was given a $300 gift card, along with a calculator for tracking total price and a couple of shopping bags.

“I just have to carry everything,” said punter Durant Brooks, shrugging. Come on — aren’t you helping to pick some stuff out? “Yeah, he rocks,” said his partner Lydia.

Then there was NBC 4’s Lindsay Czarniak, who was attending as both celebrity co-shopper and working media. Her approach was slightly different.

Continue reading

Redskins Birthday Extravaganza

Not one, not two, but three birthdays on the team today:

26 is 27.

55 is 34.

And Larry Michael is a year older than he was last year.

Happy birthday to all three of them.

Dancing With The Muppets

Jason Taylor has been fielding questions about Dancing With The Stars since he got here. It’s the main reason a lot of people — especially women, apparently — recognize him, and it’s elevated him to a higher level of celebrity.

So when I heard that another TV show he’d guested on aired today, I wanted to be first in the queue with my questions. I caught up with him briefly after afternoon practice to ask about this:

So I heard you were on Sesame Street today. When did you record that?

I went in and did it a few months ago.

You think more people will recognize you from the reality show or Sesame Street?

Well, the reality show was a lot bigger. Twenty million people watched the reality show, and Sesame Street just came out today, so it’s too soon to tell.

What stuck out to you about doing it?

It’s different than working with live actors, working with a puppet. Obviously, there’s a guy underneath the screen, but it’s very different.

It was a good experience, though?

It was great. My kids got to go with me when I filmed it, they got to meet Elmo … it was a cool deal.

Day 3 – Start with a picture

Down in the locker room this morning, I noticed something that I thought was kinda cool:

Jason Taylor's locker

Jason Taylor's locker

The jersey’s not there yet — apparently not until 8:00 or so — but if you look at the nameplate, you can see that Taylor picked up number 55 from fourth year LB Rian Wallace.

A nameplate.

A nameplate.

It’s what I heard rumored yesterday, but this was the first confirmation I saw of it.  It’ll be interesting to see if this affects his Pro Bowl balloting, since I’m pretty sure this leaves him classified as an LB or LB/DE, not a pure DE.  (Knock on wood, of course.)