Originally created 01/26/99

Lawrence Taylor offers no apologies, no remorse



MIAMI -- Lawrence Taylor has no apologies and no remorse for the drug and personal problems that could jeopardize his election this week to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

"I don't apologize for anything," Taylor said Monday in a conference call with reporters, some of whom are on the Hall of Fame voting panel. "There are some things in all our lives we wish we could change. Unfortunately, we can't do that.

"The past is the past. I can't worry about it. I can't dwell on it. There are consequences for every choice you make. Every day of my life, I've known there are consequences. From when I was a little boy and learned right from wrong, you know there's consequences for everything you do.

"I don't worry about the choices I made. When my days are over I'll have to answer for everything I've done."

Taylor's playing career was interrupted by a four-game suspension in 1988 when he tested positive for drugs. Since retiring, he has been arrested twice on drug charges, pleaded guilty to filing false federal tax returns and declared bankruptcy.

He also testified before a grand jury investigating organized crime, his driver's license was suspended for outstanding parking tickets, and he received three summonses for leaving the scene of an accident.

Unlike the baseball Hall of Fame, there is no citizenship criteria for election to Canton. The bylaws of the Pro Football shrine speak only of a nominee's achievements and contributions as a player, coach or contributor in professional football.

That would seem to include Taylor, one of the most dominant linebackers in the game for 13 seasons. And he knows it.

"Based on the bylaws, it should be a no-brainer," he said. "If you start going by off-the-field problems, you might have to kick out half the people in that Hall of Fame right now. I leave my Hall of Fame fate up to the voters. If I don't get in, I don't get in. That's life."

To be elected, a candidate needs 80 percent of the vote from those present at Saturday's election. If all 36 electors show up, Taylor would need votes from 29 of them. A minimum of four and maximum of seven of the 15 finalists will be elected.

Thomson's Ray Guy, a former all-pro punter for the Oakland Raiders, is among those under consideration for induction into the Hall of Fame.

Taylor, a first-year candidate, knows there will be some opposition because of his history, which includes a number of drug rehabilitations.

"It's part of life," he said. "Everybody can't be as perfect as everybody in that room. We make our choices and they have consequences. If my consequences mean not going to the Hall of Fame, you guys decide. I'm not losing sleep over it.

"I'd love to be there. I expect to be there. If you want to say LT had problems, I'm guilty. If you want to say LT had controversy, guilty. If you want to say there will be more controversy, guilty. I have that problem. Sorry.

"If you're asking me to apologize or be remorseful for what I've done, I can't do that. I can't tell you what I would have done or could have done. I thank God I'm alive and able to have this conversation. There are some things I'd like to change but I can't change. I'm happy with who I am."

Taylor is in south Florida this week, filming an Oliver Stone football movie titled On Any Given Sunday. He expects to return Sunday to New Jersey, where his son is to undergo knee surgery.