Pro Bowler Taylor finds sitting difficult during injury-plagued season

Updated: November 6, 2003, 8:10 PM ET
ESPN

PHILADELPHIA -- Troy Vincent hears nothing but a few mumbles when he asks locker room neighbor Bobby Taylor about the foot injury that has sidelined the Pro Bowl cornerback for most of the season.

"I know he's frustrated, because he doesn't want to talk about it," said Vincent, Philadelphia's other Pro Bowl cornerback.

It's been a discouraging season for Taylor, who has played only one game since straining his right foot in the opener. He practices some days, sits out most others and wonders when his foot will be strong enough that he can play without pain. On Thursday, it was another practice on the sidelines.

"Right now, I feel like a liability out there," Taylor said.

Taylor, the Eagles' second-round pick in 1995, is the team's longest-tenured player. He started 102 of his 112 career games entering this season, and a year ago he was selected to his first Pro Bowl team.

Last year, he had a team-high five interceptions, then added two more in the playoffs. He's played more postseason games (10) and won more (five) than any player in team history.

"He wants to be out there more than anybody," Vincent said. "He's coming off the best season of his career."

Taylor was injured in the first half of the season's first game against Tampa Bay. Since then, his name has been a constant fixture on the injury report. Taylor thought he had recovered enough to play the rest of the season in Week 7 against the Giants.

Instead, the injury was reaggravated after he was in for 79 plays, much more than he expected, against New York.

"I felt some particular things when I was out there," he said. "A lot of times, you don't really feel it to the full effect until it's over."

Taylor, however, may have saved Philadelphia's 14-10 victory. On the Giants' last play of the game, Taylor swatted away a fourth-down pass to Giants tight end Jeremy Shockey. Taylor also shut down Shockey for most of the game.

The Eagles walked away with a win. Taylor walked away in pain.

"To get the result that we got, I don't think it was too much," he said. "From a health issue, it probably was too much. I don't regret it at all. We needed a victory going into that game."

The Eagles are 5-3, have won three straight, and are just one game behind Dallas for the NFC East lead entering Monday's game at Green Bay. Taylor is listed as doubtful, but likely will be a game-time decision.

"It's just a matter of him getting it calmed down and being able to get back there," coach Andy Reid said.

Taylor played all 16 games during the last three seasons after a series of injuries in the three years before that. He missed the final 11 games in 1997 with a knee injury, the first five games of 1998 with a fractured shoulder, and the last game of the 1999 season with a broken jaw.

Taylor said the knee injury in 1997 was easier to accept because he knew he would not return.

"It was a situation where I was out, period," he said. "Going up and down like the way this season has been so far ... yeah, it's definitely hard."

Taylor's contract expires at the end of the season and there are no guarantees he'll return to the Eagles for a 10th season. He's teamed with Vincent in the secondary since 1996 -- they've been stall buddies for just as long -- and he said the two haven't played their last game together.

If they have, it's not the ending Taylor hoped for.

"I'd never write it like this," he said.<

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index