Report: Ex-NFL player dated Taylor

Updated: May 15, 2009, 1:54 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki was not the first professional athlete to have a relationship with Cristal Taylor, The Dallas Morning News reported Wednesday.

Nowitzki
Nowitzki

Tony Banks, a former NFL quarterback, told The News that Taylor tried to turn his life upside down in 1997.

"This is unbelievable," Banks told The News. "This is wild. I can't believe it's the same chick."

Dallas County spokeswoman Kim Leach said Taylor, 37, was transported Wednesday to Jefferson County in southeast Texas. Taylor had been considered a fugitive since 2001.

On May 6, while the Mavericks were flying back from Denver, Dallas police officers went to Nowitzki's house to arrest Taylor after confirming the existence of warrants for her arrest in Texas and Missouri. Two Dallas television stations (KXTA-TV and WFAA-TV) have reported Taylor to be Nowitzki's fiancée.

Banks, 36, played nine seasons with five teams in the NFL before retiring in 2005. He was with the Cowboys for a short time in 2001.

Banks had seen stories about Nowitzki's problems with a love interest, Taylor, but did not make a connection until he was contacted by The News.

Taylor used numerous aliases and Banks told The News he believes Taylor went by the name of Theresa when they met in 1997. He was 24 and in his second season with the St. Louis Rams.

"I just remember the team security guy got involved," Banks told The News. "She ended up having a bunch of aliases, she was living with some police officer or something."

Banks told The News he found out Taylor got his contact information through a college friend.

"She called me and wanted to see me; I said, 'No.'" Banks told The News. "She sent me her picture in the mail and she was just gorgeous. Me being a kid, thinking I was the best thing since sliced bread, I gave her a call and ended up dating her."

Banks told The News he almost immediately regretted the decision.

"I remember she camped out in front of my crib one time when I had another female friend in town," Banks told The News. "She [Taylor] wasn't too happy about that."

Banks told The News Taylor started making harassing calls to him, his agent, his marketing team and Rams coach Dick Vermeil. Vermeil, Banks told The News, became concerned about his off-the-field conduct and maturity level.

"It wasn't a good way for me and Dickie V. to start off," Banks told The News. "Dick thought about drafting Jake Plummer that first year because of this stuff."

Banks told The News he considers himself fortunate to have had such a brief encounter with Taylor.

"I can't believe she got as far as she did with Dirk, to be engaged," he told The News. "Sometimes it's hard for people to believe that women can be that malicious. But there's a story here that has touched a lot of athletes and could have done some damage."

On Wednesday, Taylor's bond was raised from $20,000 to $50,000 at the request of Jefferson County officials.

Taylor's arrest May 6 also was for a probation violation in Missouri. A prosecutor there says Taylor pleaded guilty in 1999 to two counts of forgery and two counts of felony stealing.

Sources close to the situation have confirmed to ESPN.com the warrants were discovered when Nowitzki's team of legal advisers hired a private investigator to research Taylor's background, amid growing concern among those closest to the player inside and outside the Mavericks' organization.

Nowitzki didn't want to discuss the situation before the Mavericks' shootaround Wednesday in Denver ahead of Game 5.

"Basketball business is public business. My private life is private business. This is private business," said Nowitzki, whose team trails the Nuggets 3-1 in the series.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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