Taylor played his last two years in the NFL for the then-San Diego Chargers, but before that – from 1995 through 1997 – Taylor was a solid offensive guard.
John Maxymuk, the author of “Packers by the Numbers: Jersey Numbers and the Players Who Wore Them,” described Taylor’s stay with the Packers and how injuries slowed him and eventually forced him to retire from the NFL after just six years in the league.
Here is how Maxymuk describes how the Packers had been hampered in the past through injuries to some of their best players: :
"Injuries are a sad fact of life in the NFL. Careers are common diminished, shortened, and ended by one misstep, one slip, one bad twist, or one wrong turn.Broken legs slowed Willie Buchanon; a broken leg coupled with hip and shoulder injuries altered the arc of Lynn Dickey‘s career; Gale Gillingham and Rich Moran blew out their knees; Eddie Lee Ivery blew out his knee in his first game and then reinjured it two years later; Nelson Toburen, Tim Lewis and Sterling Sharpe (and now Johnathan Franklin) injured their necks and had to retire immediately; Don Majkowski ruined his shoulder; Mark D’Onofrio tore up his hamstring after two games; Robert Brooks and Craig Newsome tore the anterior cruciate ligaments in their knees; Mark Chmura severely hurt his back."
Taylor was a two-time All American, as well as the winner of the Lombardi Award – that’s the award that goes to the nation’s best college offensive lineman.
After his senior year at Notre Dame, the Packers snatched him up with the 13th pick of the 1994 draft.
Measuring 6-4, and weighing 300 pounds, Aaron Taylor was as big and fast as they come.
Packers coaches believed they had in place an anchor for their offensive line for years to come.
However, Aaron Taylor was injured even before his career began. It was in his first training camp that he injured his knee and was forced to sit his rookie season as a member of the injured reserve list.
Battling back from that first knee injury, he earned and held down the right guard position for Green Bay throughout the regular season.
That was until the start of the playoffs, when he went down with another knee injury … this one to his better knee.
But he wasn’t done by any stretch of the imagination. Taylor recovered and played the 1996 and 1997 seasons, again at right guard.
Two Super Bowls appearances and one championship was his reward.
Aaron Taylor signed a four-year, $10.8 million free agent contract with the San DiegoChargers in 1998, the offseason after the Packers lost to the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXXII.
Packers GM Ron Wolf said, ‘He came back and he started, which is a great credit to him and the job that he did. He’s a pretty good player. He’s got to feel proud of his accomplishments here. He’s just not the player he was before he had those injuries. It was most noticeable in the passing game. He’s not as flexible as he was, and he doesn’t have the mobility he once had.”
Aaron Taylor came to Green Bay with high expectations and the skills to be one of the best ever in Packers News. But the injuries were his downfall. Had he stayed healthy, he might have been much more with the Packers.
As it was, one can’t argue with his two Super Bowl appearances and his one championship with the team.
His value was significant and he won’t soon be forgotten.
He was one of the best ever to wear #73 in Green Bay.
Our countdown, from the beginning:
- Number 99
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- Number 74