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Taylor Gets a Feel For New Surroundings.


It was the first day of Jason Taylor's new job, and he wore the wrong shoes.

In his first practice at Redskins Park, Taylor had to wear his old Miami Dolphins cleats because his new Redskins cleats weren't available yet.

Of course, what fans really wanted to know was what jersey number he would wear as a Redskin.

He chose No. 55.

Turns out that Taylor, acquired by the Redskins on Sunday in a trade with the Dolphins, never really negotiated with Andre Carter for the jersey number he wore in Miami, No. 99.


Jason Taylor warms up alongside Andre Carter. (Ned Dishman Photo)
He decided he wanted a fresh start.

"I talked about it with my wife last night and we decided to leave No.99 stay in Miami and start a new chapter up here," Taylor said.

Why 55?

"I like double digits, and 88 is a receiver, 77 is ugly and 66 is a lineman," he said. "I think 55 works."

Taylor previously wore No. 55 at the Senior Bowl in 1997 and was named MVP of the game. He wore No. 33 in college at Akron.

Attire aside, Taylor took part in his first Redskins practice on Tuesday. At 6-5 and 255 pounds, he looked svelte working among other linemen, particularly the defensive tackles.

Taylor admitted he felt awkward about putting on a different colored jersey and helmet. He has been wearing the teal-colored Miami Dolphins uniform his entire 11-year NFL career.

"Some of the guys noticed in the locker room that I was kind of uneasy with [the uniform] at first," Taylor said. "I was kind of looking at the helmet trying to figure out what it was. After 11 years of doing something else, this is a new change for me. It's very different."

He even felt a little like a rookie again.

"Not on the field so much, though" he said. "It's more trying to figure out where you're going. I didn't even know where the locker room was this morning."

Taylor participated in individual drills, but mostly watched during 9-on-9 and 11-on-11 work.

"Coaches didn't want to throw me in too early and have me [learn]too much too soon," he said. "I also need to go through that initial soreness of training camp. We'll ease our way into it, and get work done all the while. I'm not just standing around."

Said head coach Jim Zorn: "What we did with Jason today was we got him in all of the individual drills. He took all of his reps. He stood beside [defensive coordinator] Greg Blache and listened to the calls when he wasn't in there.

"The players did a really nice job welcoming him in. He was very compatible with his new teammates and getting to know them. I thought it went well."

Taylor's brother-in-law is Zach Thomas, the former Pro Bowl linebacker of the Dolphins who is now with the Dallas Cowboys. Coincidentally, Thomas also opted to wear jersey No. 55 with his new team this year.

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