Lawrence Julius Taylor was born February 4, 1959. He would grow up to be one the greatest football players the game has ever seen.
Taylor grew up in Virginia before deciding to attend the University of North Carolina in 1977. He was originally recruited as a defensive lineman and wore No. 98. He switched to linebacker in 1979. In the 1980 season he had 16 sacks and was an All-American.
The New York Giants drafted Taylor with the No. 2 overall pick in the 1981 NFL Draft. The Saints selected Heisman Trophy-winning halfback George Rogers with the No. 1 pick instead of Taylor. Big mistake. Taylor would transform defense in the NFL and eventually make the Giants a champion.
Taylor spent his entire career with the Giants (1981-1993). Taylor was a 10-time Pro Bowl selection, a 10-time All-Pro, NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, NFL MVP in 1986, and a 3-time Defensive Player of the Year. He also was a two-time Super Bowl winner ((XXI, XXV).
Taylor is arguably the greatest linebacker ever to play. He terrorized the quarterbacks unlike any who have ever played the position. Taylor ended his career with 1,088 tackles, 132.5 sacks (not counting the 9.5 sacks he recorded as a rookie because sacks did not become an official statistic until 1982), nine interceptions, 134 return yards, two touchdowns, 33 forced fumbles, 11 fumble recoveries, and 34 fumble return yards.
Check out his highlights:
In 1999, "L.T." became a Hall of Famer.
Here's to you, Lawrence Taylor. Happy Birthday.