Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Jason Taylor, Zach Thomas Become Newest Members of Miami's Ring of Honor

There will be plenty of time to break down Peyton Manning's monster second half in Monday night's matchup, a game in which Peyton's Broncos came back from a 24-point halftime deficit to capture a 35-24 victory. For now, I would like to take the time to recognize two former greats.

T'was a great weekend for the Miami Dolphins, I'd say. Not only did rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill lead the 'Phins to a 17-14 win over the Rams, but they also added two former All Pro defenders to the franchise's Ring of Honor.

Jason Taylor, 38, and Zach Thomas, 39, were officially honored as the Dolphins' newest inductees, as they shared the stage in Miami on Sunday afternoon. Not only did Taylor and Thomas anchor Miami's defense for over a decade, but they also happen to be brother-in-laws (Jason is married to Zach's sister, Katina).

Thomas, an 8-time Pro Bowler, played linebacker for the Dolphins from 1996-2007, racking in over 1,600 total tackles and 19.5 sacks. As one of the most reliable pieces on defense throughout his 12 seasons, Thomas missed just 13 starts before playing in just five games in his final campaign as a Dolphin.
His 13-year career ended with a stint in Dallas in 2008––he spent the 2009 preseason with Kansas City before being released prior to the start of the regular season. Thomas' career, however, wasn't officially in the history books until he signed a one-day contract with Miami on May 18, 2010 to announce his retirement from the game.

Jason Taylor's career as Miami's massive, 6'6" defensive end was a wild one. Drafted by the Dolphins in the 3rd round of the '97 NFL Draft, Taylor spent 11 productive seasons in Miami before being traded to the Redskins. Taylor spent the next, and final, four seasons of his career jumping from Washington (2008), back to Miami (2009), to the Jets (2010) and finally back to the Dolphins last season.

The final three seasons of his career were spent transitioning from defensive end to outside linebacker. With the Jets and Dolphins during those seasons, Taylor combined for 97 total tackles, 19 sacks and 5 forced fumbles in 22 starts.

Taylor announced on December 28, 2011 that he would officially retire from the game at season's end and he played his final game on January 1, 2012, with Miami. Taylor joined the ESPN NFL coverage team this past summer.
Both Thomas and Taylor were integral pieces to Miami's defense over the last decade, and spent many seasons with success alongside each other. Both guys find themselves on the Dolphins' top 5 list of most games played (Taylor, 3rd with 188; Thomas, 5th with 168).

Taylor is the franchise's sack leader (131) and his 139.5 career sacks is good enough for 6th on the NFL's all-time list. As for Thomas, he's the franchise's leader in career tackles. Combined, Taylor and Thomas have 13 Pro Bowl selections, 8 First-team All Pro selections and are both on the NFL 2000s All-Decade Team.

Jason Taylor and Zach Thomas were the 20th and 21st players to be inducted into Miami's "Honor Roll" (not including the 1972 undefeated team, two coaches and founder/owner Joe Robbie, who are also members). They have officially been honored alongside the likes of Dan Marino, Larry Csonka, Bob Griese, Nick Buoniconti, Mark Clayton and Don Shula, among others.

Note: I do not own the above images. No Copyright infringement intended.

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