Life 101…Personally Speaking is an educational yet informal interview program hosted on the campus of Nova Southeastern University.
With a rare combination of determination, charisma, athleticism and good looks, Jason Taylor has taken the sports and entertainment worlds by storm and won’t look back. Since being drafted by the Miami Dolphins in 1997, this home-schooled “ Pittsburgh kid” has become the greatest pass rusher in the storied franchise’s 40-year history, one of the most feared defenders in the National Football League and a rising star away from the gridiron, as evidenced by his role as the “ Neutrogena Man.” But above all else, it is Taylor’s big heart that has endeared him to the South Florida community and moved one of the area’s most popular figures to form the Jason Taylor Foundation.
Taylor’s athletic accomplishments are seemingly endless. He has received first-team All-Pro honors, participated in three Pro Bowls, been named to numerous All-NFL Defensive Teams and received several Defensive Player of the Year awards. He is the Dolphins all-time career sack leader, entering the 2005 Season with 80.5 and counting, and was the NFL’s sack champion in 2002 with 18.5. USA Today Sports Weekly rated him as the top defensive lineman in the league prior to the 2003 season and Pro Football Weekly recently named him the NFL’s best defensive end. He has been honored as the Dolphins’ Most Valuable Player on three occasions, was the club’s Leadership Award winner once 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 just as successful. In addition to serving as the official spokesperson for the Neutrogena men’s line of products, he is a Brand Jordan Sports member of “Team Jordan,” has been a featured model in several national print ad campaigns, as well as Men’s Health, GQ, Ocean Drive and FHMmagazines and has appeared on MTV Cribs, Wheel of Fortune, BET’s 106 & Park, The Jamie Kennedy Experiment, andEntertainment Tonight. He is a regular participant in the “N’SYNC Challenge for the Children” and was named one of the “10 Hottest Men in Sports” by Sports Illustrated for Women.
Over the course of his nine-year career with the Dolphins, Taylor has 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 of Broward County. In the spring of 2002, Jason participated in two USO Tours during which he visited military bases and hospitals in Kuwait, Iraq and Germany and in 2004 he hosted the first-ever Jason Taylor Celebrity Golf Classic., raising nearly $170,000 for the Holtz Children’s Hospital in Miami.
Following the inaugural golf classic, Jason and his wife, Katina, decided they wanted to extend their charitable efforts. On July 30, 2004, they officially formed the Jason Taylor Foundation in an effort to build a better future for the children of South Florida.
The Jason Taylor Foundation has made long strides in a short period of time. The Holtz Children’s Hospital has officially renamed its learning center as “The Jason Taylor Children’s Learning Center,” four sixth grade students have been awarded college scholarships and hundreds of student athletes have been treated to inspirational films as part of the “Big Screens-Big Dreams” program. In June of 2005, Jason was recognized by The Sporting News, receiving an annual “Good Guys” award.
Taylor, who enjoys boating and golf, currently resides in Davie, Fla. with his wife Katina and their sons, Isaiah and Mason.
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