Lawrence Taylor Biography

Athlete, Football Player (1959–)
American football player Lawrence Taylor was a member of the New York Giants and is considered one of the best linebackers in the history of the game.


Lawrence Taylor was born on February 4, 1959 in Williamsburg, Virginia. He entered the NFL draft in 1981 and was the second overall pick, selected by the New York Giants. During his 13-year career, he was named an All-Pro six times (1981–1987) and made 10 Pro Bowl appearances (1981–1990 seasons). He was inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1999.

Early Career

Lawrence Taylor, a ground-breaking NFL linebacker known for his size and speed, was born Lawrence Julius Taylor on February 4, 1955, in Williamsburg, Virginia. A late bloomer, he didn't start playing football until his junior year at Lafayette High School.

As a result, he was not highly recruited and eventually landed at the University of North Carolina. There, Taylor, who earned the nickname "Godzilla," quickly began to terrorize opposing quarterbacks. His speed, size (6'4'', 240 pounds), and fury made him an almost unstoppable weapon and in the 1981 draft, the New York Giants selected Taylor with the No. 2 overall pick.

As a pro, Taylor quickly redefined the outside linebacker position, collecting nine sacks his rookie year, the first his of 10 straight Pro Bowl seasons. That same year, Taylor became the first rookie to win the league's "Defensive Player of the Year" title. He won the honor two more times, in 1982 and 1986.

The 1986 season stands out as Taylor's finest. That year he finished with 20.5 sacks and 105 tackles, making him the first defensive player in 15 years to be named the NFL's MVP. In 1995, Taylor was named to the NFL's Anniversary All-Time Team.

Taylor's toughness became the stuff of legend. During one regular season game, the Giants' medical staff had to hide Taylor's helmet in order to prevent the recently concussed linebacker from reentering the contest. In another game, Taylor played through torn shoulder ligaments and a detached pectoral muscle to lead the team to victory. 

In addition to his 10 Pro Bowl appearances, Taylor's 13-year career saw him earn six All-Pro nods and two Super Bowl titles (1987 and 1991). He was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1999.

Troubled Life

Taylor matched his on-the-field exploits with off-the-field problems. Cocaine and crack use led to a failed NFL drug test and, subsequently, a 30-day suspension from football.

Trouble continued to plague Taylor following his retirement after the 1993 season. In 1996, South Carolina police arrested the retired star for buying crack.

Despite getting off of drugs, Taylor continued to make headlines. In November 2009, Florida police charged Taylor with leaving the scene of an accident. The following year, the retired linebacker was arrested in New York, and charged with third-degree rape and soliciting prostitution in a case involving a 16-year-old girl.

In January 2011, Taylor pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors that required him to register as a sex offender.

Taylor, who is the father of four children, resides in Florida.

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