Former Green Bay Packers defender and Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Taylor died on Saturday morning, according to Packers.com. He was 83 years old.
Taylor played college football at LSU, where he led the SEC in 1956 and 1957. In 1957, he was named All-SEC and All-America First Team after he and the future Heisman winner Billy Cannon had posted over 1,500 yards and 17 touchdowns. In his career at LSU, Taylor recorded 1,314 rushing and 20 rushing touchdowns.
As a result, Taylor was selected by the Packers in the 1958 NFL Draft second round.
"My rookie year was the worst in Packer history," Taylor told Packer Report in 2011. "After being drafted by Green Bay, I sat on the bench for the first 10 games of the 12-game season and then got some playing time, finishing with a 1-10-1 record, so it was an experience that puts everything in the right perspective. "
A year later, Vince Lombardi took over as coach. Taylor started seven games.
"During the training camp in year 59, Lombardi liked the way I ran the ball and made him his first defender," Taylor continued. "I was really trying to initiate contact with the defender instead of taking him in. This allowed me to carry the ball with some authority and avoid injury, with my main focus on maximizing every opportunity and doing everything in my power to every inch, foot or yard that is possible to move the chains.
"Looking back, I had good speed, size and strength, but only average skills, and throughout my career I've tried to get the most out of every situation to become the best possible player, and I think you could say that my love of competition and my desire to become the best player has only fueled the fire in me. "
But it was not until 1960, when Taylor started, raced for 1,110 yards and 11 touchdowns. The 1962 season was Taylor's best when he hurried for 1,474 yards and 14 touchdowns. Taylor won the glittering title this season and was named MVP. He finished the season with a strong performance in the NFL Championship game against the New York Giants, with 85 yards and a touchdown in the 16-7 victory.
"Looking back on that day, it was just the kind of game I really enjoyed," he told Packer Report. "I had a lot of carrying capacity, would not give in to anyone and did not want to give in. From this perspective, it was one of the most memorable games of my career."
Taylor was arguably the best running back in the league from 1960-1964. During this five-year period he scored 6,069 yards, 824 yards and 71 touchdowns. Taylor was called to the All-Pro Team and Pro Bowl each year, helping the Packers win two championships. Taylor also made history by being the first player to record 1,000-yard seasons five times in a row.
He helped the Packers win additional NFL titles in 1965 and 1966, but his numbers were not that strong. In those two seasons, Taylor averaged 720 yards and four touchdowns, but he was still named in the All-Pro Second Team in 1966. Taylor's last game as a packer was Super Bowl I and he scored the game's first touchdown. The Packers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 35-10.
"We were excited to represent the National Football League. But we trained and practiced how we would do it for any big game, "Taylor told NFL.com in 2016." We also knew that we represented the NFL against a team that was only four or five years old and had a bit of an incentive. "
Taylor was selected by the New Orleans Saints in the expansion draft and recorded 390 yards and two touchdowns in 1967. He retired from the NFL prior to the 1968 season and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1976. He was the first of Vince Lombardi's players to be founded in Canton and presented by Lombardi's wife Marie.
"Jim Taylor lived life the way he played football with passion, determination and love for everything he did," said Hall of Fame President David Baker. The entire Hall of Fame family mourns a true hero of the game and expands Its heartfelt condolences to his wife Helen during this difficult time While Jim's spirit lives forever in the hall, we will miss his smile, which would illuminate a room.
"The Pro Football Hall of Fame will keep Jim's legacy alive, so that generations of fans will remember his raw running style, his blocking ability and leadership in coach Vince Lombardi's" run to daylight "philosophy, making him the first of the Lombardi Packers To earn a place in Canton, Jim Taylor's achievements on the football field and throughout his life represent values such as dedication, teamwork, sacrifice, and passion that inspire us all. "
Along with winning the MVP Awards, Taylor won four NFL titles and became the 1960s All-Decade Team.
"This son of a gun is the toughest son of a rifle in the league," backfield buddy Paul Hornung once said about Taylor via Cliff Christl of Packers.com. "I've seen him fly over people 30 or 40 pounds taller than him (finger pressure)." Jimmy Brown is perhaps the best all-around athlete I've seen, but he does not have Taylor's desire. "