The Redskins are going to try to get some productivity out of nose tackle, Phil Taylor, despite the fact that he has missed the last three seasons with injuries. Here is a little bit of history on players who attempted comebacks after extended absences.
—RB Robert Edwards gained 1,115 yards rushing for the Patriots in his rookie 1998 season. He then suffered a devastating knee injury in a flag football game that was part of the Pro Bowl festivities. After missing three years he got back on the field with the Dolphins, playing 12 games and rushing for 107 yards. His comeback was one and done but he did.
—The path of RB Ricky Williams isn't quite the same as the one Taylor is trying to take but it’s close enough. After five years in the NFL, he retired in 2004. He came back the next year, but he sat out the 2006 season due to a substance abuse suspension. Williams played just one game in 2007. In 2008 he got back to full-time duty with Miami and he played for four more years. At the age of 32 in the 2009 season, he rushed for 1,121 yards.
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—The stuff hit the fan QB Michael Vick after the 2006 season. After making three Pro Bowls in his first six years in the league, a suspension and time in jail put him out for the 2007 and 2008 seasons. He signed with the Eagles in 2009 and he attempted just 13 passes. Vick returned to the Pro Bowl in 2010 at the age of 30 and played four more years after that.
—In 2001, CB Deion Sanders decided that he would rather retire than play for old-school Redskins coach Marty Schottenheimer. He was 33 at the time and he seemed to be done. However, after three years on the sidelines he got the itch again he signed to play for the Ravens. Sanders picked off five passes in two seasons before hanging it up for good after the 2005 season.
While at first glance this partial history might bode well for Taylor’s comeback chances, it should be noted that of the four players here, only Edwards missed extended time due to an injury. And he was only 24 when he was injured so the age factor might come into play.
You also have to look at the hundreds of players who were injured and never came back. Adam Carriker was 28 in Week 2 of the 2012 season when he suffered a quad injury similar to the one that Taylor sustained last year. Carriker was coming off of two seasons as the starter at defensive end and he had 5.5 sacks in 2011. In the ensuing years, he got a few tryouts, but he never did make it back to play in another game.
On the plus side for Taylor, you can’t make it back if you don’t have a chance and the Redskins have given one to him. We will see if he can make the most of it.
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