Jacksonville Sports News, Sam Kouvaris - SamSportsline.com

Fred’s Farewell

Nice sendoff for Fred Taylor sponsored by the Downtown Rotary on Monday.

Taylor was released by the Jaguars a couple of weeks ago but some of the members of Downtown Rotary didn’t think he was given a proper farewell. So the Monday lunch meeting was dedicated to celebrating Taylor’s career here in town. “I’m not bitter,” Fred said afterwards. “I really love Jacksonville, the fans, the city. I’ll retire a Jaguar.”

Taylor will be playing for the New England Patriots this season and said he’ll be keeping an eye on the Jaguars. “I’ll be rooting for Jacksonville every week, except when they come to New England this year.” The Jaguars will be on the road at Foxboro this season. The exact schedule hasn’t ‘been set yet.

I did think it was interesting that Taylor had some of his friends there, including former teammates Jimmy Smith and Rashean Mathis. Smith was moved to tears when Taylor choked up giving a few farewell remarks. It just made me think of Smith’s retirement announcement and how abrupt it was in comparison.

The Jaguars brass flew to South Florida to talk with Fred and make the decision. Smith’s retirement was announced in a last-minute press conference at the stadium. It fueled speculation that Smith was stepping aside instead of facing a drug suspension for a failed test.

But Fred’s situation was different. He is a beloved player here in town and as strange as it seems that he would get a sendoff, isn’t that what’s supposed to happen? When a guy spends his career in town, stays out of trouble, says the right things and is a part of the community, shouldn’t there be some kind of a celebration of his career?

Isn’t this what’s supposed to happen?

I think so and by Fred’s emotional reaction, he appreciated it.

Obviously, this doesn’t happen enough. Certainly the players and free agency play a part, but sometimes there’s so much business involved that teams forget the emotional connection that’s created between fans and players. The organization might reap the benefits but the fans have the connection, the memories, and the memorabilia and feel ownership.

I just thought it was nice.

Maybe the Jaguars were paying attention.