Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Fans Fail to See What's at Heart of Jags' Taylor

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Fans Fail to See What's at Heart of Jags' Taylor

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Woods, Times-Union sports columnist

Every Monday morning, when I check my e-mails, the list of subjects looks something like this:

Re: Fred Taylor

Re: your stupid column

Re: latest Taliban joke

Re: Fred Taylor

Usually, the messages about the Jaguars' running back are short and to the point.

"When is he coming back?"

Usually, so is my reply.

"Good question."

As the losses mounted, so did the Taylor e-mails. And, in some cases, disappointment turned to frustration turned to anger. You've probably seen some of this in our "Monday morning quarterback" section. Or heard it on talk radio.

When the streak reached five games at Tennessee, some pointed to Eddie George and said: "He's out there. Why isn't Fred?"

I wouldn't blame Taylor if stuff like this -- comparing nagging injuries to a tendon torn off the bone -- drives him crazy.

I wouldn't blame him if he were mad at media, fans and even his team -- which only made matters worse by taking an injury that can take months to heal and initially saying he would miss "at least two weeks."

I wouldn't blame him if when he snapped at a question last week -- and gave WFXJ (930 AM) something to play approximately as often as a Temptation Island promo during the World Series -- he meant it as exactly as it came out.

"People don't know -- -- about football."

He says this was misconstrued, that it wasn't a shot at the fans. But even if it was, even if he did fire back at those who have penned "Fragile Freddie" poems, could you blame him?

He isn't R. Jay Soward. He isn't sidelined because of some irresponsible act. He got hurt.

"You don't go out there and say, 'Hey, I'm going to get injured,' " he said. "This is your job. This is your life. This is what you want to do. …

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