Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Taylor Says He Should Have Played with Pain

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Taylor Says He Should Have Played with Pain

Article excerpt

Byline: Bart Hubbuch, Times-Union sports writer

Now it can be told: Fred Taylor could have played -- and wishes he did.

The Jaguars' star running back said yesterday that he regrets several of the seven games he missed with injuries as a rookie in 1998 and the following season.

Those absences gave rise to Taylor's reputation as an injury-prone player, an image he still struggles to shed even after playing in all 16 regular-season games last season.

"I could have gone," Taylor said of games he didn't play his first two seasons in the NFL. "I look back and say, 'Darn, I should have been out there.' "

He singled out a game he missed at Buffalo in which James Stewart started because of a shoulder injury to Taylor in 1998. The Jaguars lost 17-16 and ended up in a wild-card playoff game despite winning the AFC Central. The New York Jets, who finished one game better than the Jaguars at 12-4, received a first-round bye.

The Jets eliminated the Jaguars in the divisional round that season with a 34-24 win at the Meadowlands.

"I could have played the Buffalo game, but we were on the road, so I thought I would take my time and let it all heal, then come back," Taylor said yesterday after the second day of training camp. "The [former coaching staff] said, 'Give it a rest,' and I listened to them."

Taylor said he was content to miss games early in his career because he considered the Jaguars deep at running back with Stewart and Tavian Banks also on the roster.

"Some of those games that I missed, it was more that our team was so good that we knew we were going to make the playoffs," Taylor said. "I knew [Stewart] was going to be out there. I was hurt, but not to the point that I should have missed that game or this game."

Taylor said his mindset changed after Stewart left for Detroit in free agency three years ago. …

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