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Lawrence Taylor

Limited College Opportunities

His late entry into football was one of the reasons he was largely skipped over by college recruiters. Only two recruiters spoke to him about college ball. The University of North Carolina offered him a scholarship, in spite of his poor grades, and Taylor wouldn't turn it down.


1959 Born February 4 in Williamsburg, Virginia, to Clarence and Iris Taylor
1968 Writes down that he wants to be famous and a millionaire before age of 30
1968 Starts Little League football, but mother decides it's too dangerous, signs him up for baseball instead
1973 Picks up game of football as high school junior
1977 Begins college football career at University of North Carolina
1981 Picked second overall in NFL draft by the NY Giants
1982 Marries Linda Cooley
1984 Investigation by NFL of Taylor's friendship with New Jersey bar owner Vinnie Rabo
1985 Ordered by North Carolina judge to buy house for former girlfriend and pay child support
1985 Ends Joe The isman's career by breaking his leg in nationally televised Monday Night Football game
1986 Enters rehabilitation program for drug abuse
1986 Emerges from treatment and has best season of his career
1986 Leads Giants to their first Super Bowl victory
1987 Crosses the NFL players association picket line during a strike
1987 Tests positive for drugs and suspended for four games
1990 Recovers from drug addiction, leads Giants to their second Super Bowl victory
1993 Announces his retirement at the end of the season
1994 Sees his jersey, #56, retired by the NY Giants
1995 Signed by WWF to battle 390 pound Bam Bam Biegelow in feature match of Wrestlemania XI
1999 Inducted into Pro Football Hall of Fame
1999 Plays part of Luther "Shark" Lavay in Oliver Stone football film Any Given Sunday

He entered college with the belief that he needed to raise hell, skip classes and get into trouble in order to survive. "I was trying to be a hoodlum," Taylor told the New York Times in 1984. He felt that by instilling fear into people, he could gain their respect. And for LT, that's what it was all about. But his social life followed him onto the field, and his first few years with UNC football were rather undisciplined. His inability to focus had him bouncing from noseguard to inside linebacker to outside linebacker.

The coaches finally saw where to put him and gave him a green light to make the inside linebacker position his own. They told LT to rely on his instincts, and he ended up with eighty solo tackles his junior year, forcing seven fumbles. Teams were scared, and the only team that season who tried to confront the menace that was Lawrence Taylor was Oklahoma, which used three men to block him.

As his college career wound down, he met and fell in love with Linda Cooley, a soft-spoken woman who admonished him for his constant belligerence. Taylor's close friends told him he would have to change his ways or risk losing the girl. And he did, proposing to Linda and then marrying her in 1982.

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