At the outset of his 11th NFL season, Taylor says he feels fine physically. Emotionally? Well, things are tough. The specter of strike three, the third substance-abuse finding, is always there. Parcells is gone, and LT wonders if his skills are going too. Finally, he must deal with his on-again, off-again marriage to his wife, Linda. "It's a precarious situation, and I don't know which way to turn," Taylor says. "It's hard on our three children, hard on everybody. It's turmoil."
"I think the big change in LT is that a feeling of mortality is starting to creep in," Reece says. "For the first time he's starting to think about what life might be like without football. I don't know how long he'll play. He has such a fear of not being the bull in the woods. Some guys hang around too long. I don't think LT will play much longer. I don't think he ever wants to be average."
"The important thing is to avoid injury; that's the key," Taylor says. "I've kept my weight down, I haven't gotten too far out of shape. I even reported to camp on the first day. You always have to find some reason to play, some way to motivate yourself, and now it's: Am I still the best? Can I still do it? It's like trying to win back a title you've lost.
"I want to answer all those people who are asking if I can still do it. All right, you guys. Since you've asked the question, I'll answer it. I'll answer the call one more time, and maybe you'll shut up. After 10 years, that's what I want to do—answer the call, shut 'em up and end my career with class."