Jacksonville running back Fred Taylor, much maligned for missing 24 games during his first four pro seasons, has come out and said he could have played despite some of the injuries. “I could have gone,” Taylor told the Florida Times-Union of games he missed during his first two seasons. “I look back and say, ‘Darn, I should have been out there.’” Taylor added that he wasn’t concerned about missing games at that time because Jacksonville had solid running back depth, and that he sat out on advice of the coaching staff. He also said he had no regrets about sitting out all but two games in 2001 with a torn groin muscle. Fred credited counseling sessions with sports therapists as one of the reasons for his new attitude. “After getting my mind a little stronger,” he said, “I realized I could have been doing this all along.”
While some will never forgive Taylor for past tran! sgressions (hey, you tear a groin muscle and then try to run), it’s clear he’s on a mission to discredit the injury-prone label he’s been saddled with. Fred played all 16 games last season, and with Stacey Mack gone will be asked to do even more in Jacksonville this season. The potential is there for Taylor to quiet his critics and put up huge fantasy numbers.