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 now an NFL studio analyst for ESPN. 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 has 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 has received All-Pro honors on four occasions, been selected to six Pro Bowls, appeared on numerous All-NFL Defensive Teams and was named the NFL Alumni Association’s Defensive Lineman of the Year in consecutive seasons (2005-06). He was honored as the Dolphins’ Most Valuable Player on four occasions, was the club’s Leadership Award winner three times and is a three-time champion of the NFL’s “Ultimate Defender” competition. In 2004, Jason’s 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. In the spring of 2007, he announced his role as an equity partner and President of Franchise Development for JUICEBLENDZ, South Florida’s hottest smoothie and juice bar franchise. Jason is the first-ever male spokesperson for the Neutrogena line of health and skin products, a Jordan Brand Sports member of “Team Jordan,” appears in national television commercials for Home Depot and Sprint, serves 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 and FHM magazines, has appeared on 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 12-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. In 2007, the Jason Taylor Reading Room was proudly launched in Miramar, just a stone’s throw from Sun Life Stadium. 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 addition, Holtz Children’s Hospital officially renamed its learning center as “The Jason Taylor Children’s Learning Center,” 32 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.
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.