By ROGER MILLS
© St. Petersburg Times, published January 23, 2001
Dolphins defensive end Jason Taylor narrowly edged Warren Sapp for the NFL's Ultimate Defender crown Saturday(,) and from his perch on top he shared his insights on being a pro athlete and then some with Times staff writer Roger Mills.
RM: Considering you defeated Warren Sapp and La'Roi Glover to claim the title as the NFL's Ultimate Defender, do you consider yourself one of the best defensive linemen in the game?
JT: I think so. I'm not saying that to be cocky or conceited, but you have to look at yourself as one of the best. If you just sit there and consider yourself as one of the guys, then you're just going to be one of the guys. If you think you're going to be one of the best, then you're going to be one of the best.
RM: Is it ever uncomfortable in the locker room knowing you're going to marry the sister of your teammate (Zach Thomas)?
JT: No. Not at all for me. Zach and I are good friends, but we separate church from state. Work is work, our friendship is our friendship, and my relationship with Katina is our own thing. There isn't really any conflict of interest.
RM: So what's the bachelor party going to be like?
JT: I haven't made any plans, yet. It doesn't really matter if I have one; I'm not really big on that. Zach is probably the one that's going to end up throwing it anyway. We'll keep it good and clean.
RM: Life is pretty tight for you right now, isn't it?
JT: Yeah, it is. With anything you do, there are going to be pros and cons and pressures. But, overall, life is good. I'm playing well professionally, I'm about to go the Pro Bowl, I'm about to get married. I have no reason to complain.
RM: Ever worry that the good run can be interrupted?
JT: Sometimes. I'm superstitious. You don't want things to end and you don't want to do anything that would lead things to change. So I do worry a little bit that things could change, but I am confident in what I do. ... I have to approach it that way.
RM: Best day in your life?
JT: Being born. Now that was pretty good. It's hard to beat that. That was the start of everything, wasn't it?
RM: Worst day?
JT: Hmm, I don't know. I guess it'll come when I die.
RM: If you could go back in time, who would you go back to meet?
JT: I would go back to the time when Jesus was walking the earth. He was the man. People think Michael Jordan was the man, but Jesus was the man. I'm telling you, Jesus could beat him one-on-one. Jesus would dunk on Jordan.
RM: What would you say to him?
JT: I wouldn't say anything. I would shut up and listen. I would follow him wherever he went and just take in everything he had to say. If he asked me to say a word, I would say, "Please, Lord, don't let me say a word. I just want to listen."
RM: What do you think of the Survivor television series?
JT: I think it's silly. Those are crazy people. It's for a million dollars, right? Well, let me tell them this. I've made a million dollars, and it's not everything that it's pumped up to be. (Uncle Sam) is going to want his piece, the local government is going to want its piece and then you're left with very little of what you made a fool of yourself for in the first place.
RM: President George W. Bush?
JT: Lowering taxes.
RM: Bill Clinton? JT: Messed up.
RM: Clarence Thomas?
RM: Tell me why the human condition is so poor. JT: Adam and Eve. They ate the apple. Everything was fine in the garden. There was no right or wrong until Adam and Eve messed it up, and from that day on there were all the pains. We're evil by nature. It's a given. If they didn't mess up, the whole world would be the Garden of Eden.
RM: Your last meal on Death Row would be?
JT: Oh, man ... man ... sweet potatoes, ribs, corn on the cob, some biscuits. I went to college with this dude (Lamont Carter) who makes the best ribs. I would ask him to make me some ribs. A Sprite or a Coke ...
RM: Does Casey Martin have a case?
JT: Come on, the guy is handicapped. He's playing a sport where he can compete with his handicap. He couldn't do it in football or basketball, but the man has a foot in the door with golf and he can't walk the course. The other thing is, it's the man's life. I say let him do it. Now you just can't usher somebody in the door if they can't handle it. It's not like football where he's going to get killed. Golf's a different sport. Also, it's not like Casey Martin is some guy sitting down in the local pub and trying to get out on the golf circuit in a wheelchair.