Named Lawrence Julius Taylor at the time of his birth in 1955 in Williamsburg, Virginia, Taylor was late in joining football as compared to the others in his field. Since he did not start playing until his junior year at Lafayette High School, Taylor was not highly recruited and so ended up at the University of Carolina.
However, his speed combined with a height of 6’4” and weight of 240 pounds, soon turned him into a force to be reckoned with and a threat to the opposing quarterbacks. In 1981, the athlete’s hard work eventually paid off and he was picked at draft by the New York Giants.
Joining professional football as a linebacker, Lawrence Taylor excelled quickly, collecting nine sacks in his rookie year which was to be followed by nine more Pro Bowl seasons. 1981 also saw the footballer become the first rookie to win the league’s Defensive Player of the Year title. Taylor was to win this honour twice more in the years 1982 and 1986.
1986 also proved to be Taylor’s best season as he finished with 20.5 sacks and 105 tackles, making him the first defensive player in 15 years to be named the NFL’s Most Valuable Player. In 1995, the player was named to the NFL’s Anniversary All-Time Team.
Living up to his image of a strong player, Taylor never let his injuries slow him down. Suffering from a concussion and still willing to go on, Taylor played through another game with torn shoulder ligaments and a detached pectoral muscle. However, on-field problems were not the only ones Taylor had to deal with and his career suffered when the athlete failed the NFL drug test and had to be suspended for a month.
After his retirement in 1993, Taylor was arrested for buying crack in South Carolina. Even though he managed to get rid of drugs, the former football player was once again arrested in 2010 in charge of a third-degree rape of a teenage girl.
Even though he did not serve as a perfect role model for the football players of the coming generations, the former athlete was a force to be reckoned with during his time on the field. In his 13-year career, Taylor not only appeared in ten Pro Bowl appearances but also earned six All-Pro nods and two Super Bowl titles in 1987 and 1991. Now a father of four, Lawrence Taylor was inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1999.