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JASON TAYLOR: DANCING WITH THE STARS, WRITING FOR US

5/14/2008
You know it's the Final Four when Dan Marino's delivering the pep talk and Zach Thomas is sitting ringside. Jason Taylor has never played in an AFC Title game, but he's now one election away from the Dancing With The Stars title Show. He joined the television series so he could transcend football, and it must be working—because he was just on the cover of TV Guide. He had a meeting this week with a 20th Century Fox movie executive, and that's one week after he had lunch with Denzel Washington. Even if he doesn't win it all on DTWS, he might still…win it all.

I haven't been able to get the cover of ESPN the Magazine or Sports Illustrated, but now here I am on the cover of TV Guide. And for doing something other than football. I never would've predicted that.

Anyway, the dancing's almost over. What's it been, nine weeks now? It's a total grind, 8 or 9 hours of practice a day, and I found myself dead tired this week. I needed a lift, and that's exactly what I got from Dan Marino.

After our practice on Saturday, they popped in a video message Dan sent me. And let me tell you, Dan's a busy guy. So it was totally inspirational to hear from him. If I recall correctly, his message said: "All your fans in South Florida and all the ex-Dolphins and Dolphin players are pulling for you…so, Jason, step it up. You're not going to let two actors and an ice skater beat you, are you?''

Then he goes: "Jason, like any true friend or teammate will tell you, if you don't bring back the mirrored ball, don't come home at all.''

Well, I'll see what I can do. But, in all honesty, Dan's message meant the world to me. I mean, he and the '72 Dolphins —I'm just glad those guys talk to me, and associate with me at all. But especially Dan. On the Dolphin totem pole, there's obviously Dan Marino, and everybody else is a second and third and fourth and fifth. Dan out-shines everybody.

And he's a good friend. We play golf sometimes, we hang out, have drinks, smoke a cigar, he'll come over every once in a while to the house for poker. We live in the same development, so I see him from time- to- time. And it was great that he reached out.

But my best friend in football—that's Zach Thomas. I'm married to his sister, of course, but he and I have been in the trenches together for years, and he decided he wanted to be in the trenches with me again. So he flew out to LA last week. We had dinner a couple times and hung out, and it's just tougher to see him now because he's on the Dallas Cowboys. It'll be strange to see him in another uniform this coming season but that's the league nowadays. He'll go continue his legacy in Dallas, and I'll go and continue my legacy in…oh, I'm not talking about that right now.

So, yeah, it was super to be dancing tonight in front of Zach. And then I look over and Zach's sitting next to Emmitt Smith. Emmitt was also there to show support, and he had some good words for me before the show. Three legends of the game, three Hall of Famers were pulling for me. I can't beat that.

We scored a 28 out of 30 with our first dance, the Foxtrot, and I even got a 10 from the lead judge, the toughest judge, Len Goodman. The first 10 he's given me all season. So it was a big night. And I'm so happy for my partner, Edyta. She's been dancing on the show every year, and she's finished as high as third, but has never won it. And Edyta deserves to win, and it's her time to win. Hopefully, I can help provide that for her, but the competition is so tough this year. It'll be rough.

She wants to win, of course. It's a competition for dancers, too. And I think it affords them a lot of opportunities and publicity. So they definitely want to win. She's no different than me.

And, let me tell you, it's opened doors I've never imagined. I met this week with Alex Young, an executive at 20th Century Fox, and he really gave me insight into my potential acting career. It was great to sit down and talk to someone that really pulls the strings and makes the decisions over there at Fox. We had a great meeting. We were both on the same page of what we're trying to do, what we'd like to do, and the direction we could go.

He definitely thinks acting is something I can do and something I should do. And he thinks there'll be plenty of opportunities for us to work together. And Dancing With the Stars is what's helping it all come to fruition. It's like Denzel Washington told me: TV is where a lot of movie actors gained their national appeal. Denzel, he said he started with the show, St. Elsewhere. And that Will Smith had the Fresh Prince of Bel Air, and that Bruce Willis had Moonlighting and that George Clooney had ER. All on network TV. Of course, you talk about a Denzel and a Will and a George Clooney and those guys, it's a whole other league from me. It's like the Dan Marinos of the world and then the rest of us. Those guys are in a whole other league from me. But it's nice to get his support. We'll see what happens in the future.

In the meantime, it's almost time to go back to football. If I make it to next week's finals—and please, please vote for me at 800-868-3402—I'm going to dance my butt off and then head on back to the field.

People ask me if I'll take some time off after the show, and I tell them, yeah.

Forty-eight hours, probably.