by Christina Yeager
It’s not an unusual situation for children and teens to be interested in sports enough to want to put all of their time and energy into it. Matter of fact, it’s quite normal. However, academics should never take a backseat to the desire to train and improve athletic skill. Homeschooling becomes an option. It allows time for doing all the necessary physical training and to attend competitions while getting the education needed. Jason Taylor, who’s career now resides in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, homeschooled to fit in weight-lifting and practice into his schedule. While only homeschooled for a few years, the hard work paid off!
Jason Taylor was born in 1974 and grew up in the Pittsburg, Pennsylvania area with his interests focused on playing basketball and football. He planned to attend the University of Akron. Before beginning the tenth grade, Jason's mother talked him into homeschooling to bring more physical training and conditioning into his schedule. Mr. Taylor admits that a home-education is beneficial to college preparation.
“Being homeschooled really prepares you for college, where you have a syllabus at the beginning of the semester and you realize where you have to be, and you pace yourself through it.”
Jason Taylor would go on to attend his intended college choice and play football. He was drafted by the Miami Dolphins in 1997 becoming a starter in his rookie season as a defensive end. Jason’s career with the Dolphins franchise spanned a decade. In 2008, a decision to appear on the TV reality show Dancing With the Stars in the off-season may have upset the Miami Dolphins president. He was traded to the Washington Redskins where he spent less than a year before signing a one-year contract with his former team in Florida. After fulfilling this contract, Jason signed with the New York Jets in 2010. It appeared his career was taking a dive after he signed on again with the dolphins in 2011 and then announced his retirement shortly after.
Even though he just kept coming back to his NFL roots - it’s clear where he wanted to be - it shouldn’t shadow his accomplishments in his career, which are quite impressive. Besides being an NCAA pioneer in Akron, he paved the way for other prospective university students to homeschool to be accredited and obtain scholarships to play Division I sports.
"Just like international students had their rules and guidelines for eligibility, now so do home-school athletes. And Jason Taylor is the reason why.''
This came about before Jason would ever attend university when he learned his scholarship has been taken away after it was discovered he was homeschooled. Both he and his mother fought to prove his worth. Eventually, the pieces fell into place and the pursuit to support homeschooling and college entry followed.
That’s just the big achievements! Jason has plenty of lesser mentioned awards and privileges to speak of:
Let’s not forget about his stint on Dancing With the Stars that garnered him a runner-up slot in the finals of the dance competition with his partner Edyta Sliwinska.
It’s also notable to mention that Jason and his now ex-wife started and was involved with numerous charities geared toward aiding children. Organizations focused on reading and the literacy of children, children’s program that dispense scholarships and even a program that supplied children with certificates for back-to-school are just a few amazing programs they aided and formed.
After Jason’s last game played (January 2012) following the retirement announcement in 2011, he joined ESPN as an analyst to contribute to NFL Live, SportsCenter, NFL32 and Sunday and Monday NFL Countdown before becoming a board member of NFL Foundation. This would lead to a gig he probably never expected!
In July of 2019, it was announced that Jason Taylor would be residing in the Miami Dolphins correspondence booth during games. The team that helped make him a legend would now benefit from his analysis of each game. Like stated before, back to his roots.