Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jaguars' Taylor out for Season; despite a Thumb Injury, the Veteran RB Is Staying Upbeat

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jaguars' Taylor out for Season; despite a Thumb Injury, the Veteran RB Is Staying Upbeat

Article excerpt

Byline: VITO STELLINO

Fred Taylor is a savvy veteran when it comes to dealing with the media.

That's why he came into the media room with a smile on his face Thursday when he announced he'll miss the final three games of the season with torn ligaments in his left thumb.

Taylor might have been frustrated about going on the injured-reserve list for the first time in his career, but he wanted to appear upbeat.

"I can't come in here like that [looking downcast], then you'll probably look at me and say, 'Fred's spirits are down,' and trying to read into it, 'maybe he isn't going to be here,' " he said.

Taylor's main message is that he'll be back next season at age 33 and he hopes to play with the Jaguars.

"I was going to try to tease you and say this is a retirement session," he said with a smile.

Nobody would have believed that. He's made it clear he plans to play. The question is where.

Whether he'll remain with the Jaguars could depend on contract negotiations in the offseason.

He recalls when Jerome Bettis took a pay cut with the Steelers in 2005, then won a Super Bowl ring and retired.

"I remember it vividly," Taylor said with a smile.

Bettis took a cut from $4.484 million to $1.5 million and then rushed for 368 yards in his final season as a part-time player.

But Taylor is due to make $6 million next year, and he's not talking about that kind of a pay cut.

"I don't think his number was $6 million that year. I mean, I want to win a championship before I shut it all down. It would be perfect to do what he did. But the three number, that's kind of low," he said.

So Taylor obviously isn't keen on a 50 percent pay cut from $6 million to $3 million.

The fact that Taylor is such a popular player also is likely to be a factor in the talks. The Jaguars are likely to have problems selling tickets after having a losing season, and it certainly wouldn't be a popular move to push Taylor out the door.

"Granted, the organization has to do what is best for them. I am an investment and I have to do what is best for myself and what is best for the organization. So we'll try to come to a conclusion with the financial part of it, and how we're going to handle my entire situation," he said. …

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