With a rare blend of determination, charisma and athleticism, Jason Taylor has taken the sports and entertainment worlds by storm and isn’t looking back. After being drafted by the Miami Dolphins in 1997, this home-schooled “Pittsburgh kid” became the greatest pass rusher in the storied franchise’s 45-year history, one of the most feared defenders in the National Football League and a rising star away from the gridiron. But above all else, it is Taylor’s huge heart that moves one of pro football’s most popular figures to give back through the Jason Taylor Foundation and resulted in his being named the 2007 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year.
Taylor’s athletic accomplishments are seemingly endless. Following the 2006 season he was named the Associated Press NFL Defensive Player of the Year, the highest honor bestowed on a defensive performer. In addition, he received All-Pro honors on four occasions, was selected to six Pro Bowls, appeared on numerous All-NFL Defensive Teams, was named the NFL Alumni Association’s Defensive Lineman of the Year in consecutive seasons (2005-06) and following the 2009 season, was named to the NFL’s exclusive All-Decade team. After one-year stints in Washington (2008) and with the New York Jets (2010), Taylor returned to the Miami Dolphins in 2011 to play his 15th and final NFL season, culminating 13 spectacular seasons (1997-2007; 2009, 2011) in Miami where he amassed a team record for career sacks with 131. Prior to his retirement, Taylor led all active NFL players in career sacks, ranking sixth all-time in league annals with 139.5. He was the league’s sack champion in 2002 with 18.5, and with 111 sacks from 2000-2009, he was the NFL’s most prolific pass rusher of that decade. Taylor was honored as the Dolphins’ Most Valuable Player on four occasions, was the club’s Leadership Award winner three times and was a three-time champion of the NFL’s “Ultimate Defender” competition. In 2004, his college alma mater, the University of Akron, inducted him into its Ring of Honor, making Jason just the third person in school history to receive such recognition.
Away from the field, Jason has been equally as successful, evidenced by his second-place finish on the sixth season of Dancing with the Stars. People named him to its 2008 “100 Most Beautiful” list and US Weekly tabbed him one of “TV’s New Top 10 Dream Men.” In addition, he has been considered one of the “10 Hottest Men in Sports” by Sports Illustrated for Women and one of the Top 20 Best Looking Male Athletes by a panel of Sports Illustrated swimsuit models. Jason was the first-ever male spokesperson for the Neutrogena line of health and skin products, is a Jordan Brand Sports member of “Team Jordan,” appeared in national television commercials for Home Depot and Sprint, served as the face of McArthur Dairy Milk, has been a featured model in several national and international print ad campaigns as well as in Men’s Health, GQ, Sports Illustrated, TV Guide, Maxim and FHM magazines, has appeared on The Tonight Show, MTV Cribs, Entertainment Tonight, Wheel of Fortune, BET’s 106 & Park, The Jamie Kennedy Experiment and made a cameo appearance in the box office smash Jackass: Number Two.
Over the course of his 13-year career with the Miami Dolphins, Jason worked with numerous charitable organizations including the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, United Way, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, First Book, Habitat for Humanity and the Urban League. In the spring of 2002, he participated in two USO Tours during which he visited military bases and hospitals in Kuwait, Iraq and Germany.
In 2004, feeling the desire to further extend his charitable arm, Jason and his wife, Katina, established the Jason Taylor Foundation in an effort to build a better future for the children of South Florida. The JTF has made long strides in a short period of time. In 2007, the Jason Taylor Reading Room was proudly launched in Miramar. Currently, nearly 70 students, ages 12-18, participate four days per week for two hours per day in this multi-faceted, after-school program designed to offer a holistic approach to addressing the problem of illiteracy among inner-city youth. In 2011, JTF partnered with Samsung to open a Reading Room in New York as well. In addition, Holtz Children’s Hospital officially renamed its recreational and educational hub as “The Jason Taylor Children’s Learning Center,” 38 middle-school students have been awarded college scholarships as a result of the Foundation’s work with Take Stock in Children, hundreds of student-athletes have been treated to inspirational films as part of the “Big Screens-Big Dreams” program and more than 400 deserving children have each been given a $300 back-to-school shopping opportunity at Old Navy as part of the “Cool Gear for the School Year” program.
Just prior to Super Bowl XLII, Jason was honored with the 2007 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award for his community service activities as well as his excellence on the field. He has been recognized by The Sporting News on multiple occasions with their annual “Good Guys” award, received a prestigious JB Award following the 2006 season from James Brown, host of CBS Sports' "THE NFL TODAY," and this past June was presented with the Henry P. Iba Citizen Athlete Award, given annually to America’s premier athletes who excel in their sport and have shown by their actions a desire to help others.
When he is not chasing quarterbacks, Taylor, who enjoys boating and golf, resides in Weston, Fla. with his wife, Katina, their sons, Isaiah and Mason and daughter, Zoe.