Getting Fred Taylor to the Pro Bowl

(Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

The Jaguars are lobbying to get Fred Taylor into the Pro Bowl for the first time. So is Fred Taylor.

After his third consecutive 100-yard game against Carolina, Taylor said, "It's not up to me. I just go out there and play as hard as I can. I'd like everyone on the planet to vote for me. It's not up to me at the end of the day. We'll just see happens."

Coach Jack Del Rio said, "It was real nice, I thought, to see the Pro Bowl balloting taking place this week to have Fred have such a big performance here at home."

But the numbers don't work for Taylor. He's tied for fifth with Thomas Jones at 944. Willie Parker of Pittsburgh, LaDainian Tomlinson of San Diego are 1-2 and Joseph Addai is fourth with 975 yards and 11 touchdowns. Willie McGahee is third with 1,093 yards.

That's been Taylor's problem. He's never been in the top three in the AFC.

Taylor said, "I've said this is a lot of timing. I've put up Pro Bowl numbers over the years. For a couple years, a three- or four-year winner, if I'd been in the NFC, maybe I would have been in the Pro Bowl several years. I know how it works. That's usually what happens. I really can't control (that) the AFC has better backs than the NFC does. Well, Adrian Peterson, he's an exception at this point. Like I said, I have no control of it. What I can do is play as hard as I can and see what happens."

It doesn't help that Taylor plays for a small-market team.

"I've got to deal with it," Taylor said. "I can't cry over spilled milk. I love being here in Jacksonville, being here in the state of Florida. The market thing: We all know how that works. I just got to play a little bit better. I've got a lot of juice left in my legs. We'll see. Right now, I think I've made a late push. At the same time, I don't plan on retiring this year."

Taylor said his role model is Walter Payton.

"The player I grew up inspired by was Walter Payton. I'd really have to stay around in order to catch him. I did set a goal. I'd definitely like to catch and pass Jim Brown. He was a great one. We'll see. Plan on running till the wheels fall off. I did look at his stats. And my eyes are set on trying to catch him. Twelve thousand 600 or something," Taylor said.

Brown, who retired after playing nine years, is eighth on the all-time list with 12,312 yards.


Fred Taylor
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images
Fred Taylor is running over defenders more than he did early in his career.

"I think part of that is my growth as a runner over the years. A lot of guys expect me to try and make them miss. Not every time. I'm 230 pounds. I've got to be able to show a little power in my legs, too. Just try to change it up. Early in the game, you want to try and punish them so later in the game they'll break down. And then when they break down, you make them miss. I don't know if I'm getting stronger. I just go out there and run as hard as I possibly can," he said.

He said he doesn't feel the wear and tear on game days.

"On Sundays, I feel great. Wednesdays are the days I have trouble with. Man, it's stiff. It hurts like crazy. The coaches take pretty good care of us so I can be a lot fresher on Thursday and then Friday is kind of a fast Friday, don't do a whole lot. Then I get excited again on Sunday. Nothing like Sundays," he said.

Taylor likes the challenge of playing against the Pittsburgh Steelers. He's played nine games against them and gained 768 yards, including 234 yards in Pittsburgh in 2000 that is the 17th-best game on the all-time list and a record at Three Rivers Stadium before they tore it down.

Of playing the Steelers, Taylor said, "It'll be tough. The Steelers do what they do. The smashmouth style. Still love playing the Steelers; every chance you get an opportunity to play the Steelers, you've got to excited. The old division we were in. Playing 'em twice a year. Never back down. Knew what they were going to bring. They're going to play great defense. It's going to be cold. The field is nasty. That's football. We're ready for it."

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