Former Miami Dolphins star Jason Taylor is now one step closer to possibly adding another honor to his long resume: Pro Football Hall of Famer.
The former defensive end/linebacker who spent 13 of his 15 professional seasons with the Dolphins, was named one of the 26 semifinalists for induction on Wednesday. The list will be cut down to 15 finalists in January, with the 2017 class of inductees being announced the day before Super Bowl 51.
Taylor was a six time Pro Bowler and was named an All-Pro four times. He finished his career with 139.5 sacks and was named the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2006.
He was inducted into the team’s Honor Roll – along with brother-in-law and former linebacker Zach Thomas – in 2012, one year after retiring following his third stint with the team (having played with the Washington Redskins in 2008 and the rival New York Jets in 2010).
Taylor became just as popular for his off-field contributions to South Florida through his foundation.
Taylor is not the only person with ties to the Dolphins or South Florida to make the cut.
Jimmy Johnson, who spent five seasons as head coach of the Miami Hurricanes and later four seasons with the Dolphins, also was named a semifinalist. Johnson led the ‘Canes to the 1987 national title and was considered the first to embrace the “swag” of those teams from the school in the 1980’s.
Johnson would become the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys before the 1989 seasons – where he won back-to-back Super Bowl titles in 1992 and 1993. Johnson would later become head coach of the Dolphins, replacing the legendary Don Shula.
The Dolphins would make the playoffs in three of his four seasons, making it to the Divisional Round before losing his last two years – including a 62-7 defeat to the Jacksonville Jaguars in what would be Dan Marino’s final game as the team’s quarterback.
Also making the cut is former Miami Hurricanes running back Edgerrin James – who spent 11 seasons in the pros and was one of the top backs in the league during his seven seasons with the Indianapolis Colts – and Isaac Bruce, a Fort Lauderdale native and Dillard High graduate who helped lead the then-St. Louis Rams to a Super Bowl title during the 1999 season.