Jason Taylor has played in Pittsburgh plenty of times, including about a month ago with the Jets. So going back to his hometown on its own merits is no big deal.
But doing it with a chance to advance to the Super Bowl, well …
“The game is big for so many reasons,” Taylor said of playing in his first conference title game after 14 years in the NFL. “It’s been a long journey to get to this point. I never doubted that it would happen, but I didn’t always expect it either.”
Taylor grew up in Pittsburgh and played high school football there. He spoke today about being a home-schooled student who was spotted by the local coach while he was doing some landscaping and being lured onto the football field. Now he’s going back to the place where it all began, where he first started to be a football fan before he was a football player.
Well, almost to that place.
“I grew up born and raised a Pittsburgh Steelers fan and really idolized that team, those players, heck, until I got drafted in ’97,” he said. “You grow up in a city like that you can’t help but be a Steelers fan. To go back to where it all started a long time ago is pretty cool. It’s not Three Rivers, but it’s still Heinz Field and the Pittsburgh Steelers and the tradition that that team has. It’s pretty cool to go back and have a chance to go back and play against them for an opportunity to play in the big one.”