Every professional team in every league in this country has a way of remembering the great players that donned their respective uniforms. Some teams retire the player’s jersey number, while others have “Rings of Honor.” In Jacksonville, there is the Pride of the Jaguars.
The Jacksonville Jaguars are a relatively young team, having only been in the NFL since 1995. Therefore, it cannot be expected for them to have had a long list of great players; but they have had a few.
The sole member of the Pride of the Jaguars is the team’s first ever draft pick, left tackle Tony Boselli. When it came to production on the field, there were not many in the same class with Boselli. He dominated current and future Hall of Fame defensive ends during his career.
He was as good a left tackle as there was during his career, so there is no arguing Boselli being the inaugural inductee to the Pride.
But now there is another deserving candidate for induction: Fred Taylor.
Taylor was the ninth pick in the 1999 NFL Draft by the Jaguars. He wasted little time becoming the player the Jags were anticipating him to be when they picked him. In his rookie season, Taylor ran for 1,223 yards, averaging 4.6 yards per carry, and 14 touchdowns. He also added 44 receptions for 421 yards and another three touchdowns. It truly was a sign of great things to come.
Taylor had a combination of size and speed that had rarely been seen in professional football. There was no questioning his natural ability as a running back; however, he unfortunately battled a list of injuries throughout his career, leading to countless absences on game day, as he missed over 40 games in his career due to injury. That is over two full seasons.
Even with the long injury history, Taylor demonstrated the same dominating play that former teammate and Pride inductee Boselli did throughout his career. Taylor ended his career having rushed for 11,695 yards, which places him 15th on the all-time rushing list. He also tallied 290 career receptions and scored a total of 74 touchdowns.
While the number of games Taylor actually played was diminished due to injuries, he managed to put up incredible numbers. Just imagine what those numbers could have been had he been able to avoid the injury bug.
Even so, Taylor was a dominant player in the NFL for many years, and never quite received the respect and accolades that his play deserved.
For years, he was the face of the Jacksonville Jaguars, and that, along with his extremely impressive numbers, should make him a Jaguar legend and the second inductee into the Pride of the Jaguars.