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John Taylor
Wide Receiver
Jersey #(s)
Born March 31, 1962 (1962-03-31) (age 47)
Pennsauken Township, New Jersey
Career information
Year(s) 19871995
NFL Draft 1986 / Round: 3 / Pick: 76
College Delaware State
Professional teams
Career stats
Receptions 347
Receiving Yards 5,598
Touchdowns 43
Stats at
Career highlights and awards

John Gregory Taylor (born March 31, 1962 in Pennsauken Township, New Jersey) is a former American football wide receiver with the San Francisco 49ers. Taylor attended Pennsauken High School and was one of six NFL players to come from PHS during the 1980s. Taylor attended Delaware State College and was a member of their football team, the Hornets. He was a member of the 49ers teams that won Super Bowls XXIII, XXIV, and XXIX.


College career

Taylor totaled 42 touchdowns (33 receiving) over the course of his career at Delaware State, including 15 (13 receiving) his senior season (in only 10 games—they only played 10 games/season during that time period), both conference records. He caught 10 touchdown passes in both his sophomore and junior seasons. He is tied with, kicker, David Parkinson for most career points (254) in the conference. His 223 receiving yards in one game is also a conference record, and he has the two longest receptions in conference history, 97 and 93 yards. His 24.3 yards/catch average was the NCAA record until Jerome Mathis eclipsed it recently with 26.4. One player has since slightly eclipsed his record in career receiving yardage (Albert Horsey with 2,491 to Taylor's 2,426), but he remains the most dominant and famous player to ever come out of the MEAC. He was named MEAC Offensive Player of the Year in 1985 and All-MEAC first team in 1984 and 1985.

NFL career

Taylor was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in the third round of the 1986 NFL draft with the 76th overall pick. This was ranked by ESPN as the 25th Greatest NFL Draft Steal of all time[1]. Taylor played for the 49ers from 1987 to 1995 and was an exceptional counterpart to Hall of Fame teammate Jerry Rice during that time. He led the National Football League in punt return yards (556) in 1988, and he may be best known for catching the winning 10-yard touchdown pass from Joe Montana during the final seconds of Super Bowl XXIII in 1989. He also set Super Bowl records in the game for longest punt return (45 yards), most punt return yards (56), and highest punt return average (18.7 yards per return).

By the conclusion of the 1988 season, which ended with his famous touchdown catch in the Super Bowl, Taylor had caught just 23 passes in his two years with the 49ers and was mainly used as punt and kick returner. But in the season after his Super Bowl winning touchdown reception, Taylor established himself as one of the top receivers in the NFL. Despite not being the #1 receiver on is team, Taylor finished the 1989 season with 60 receptions for 1,077 yards and ten touchdowns (the fourth most touchdown receptions by a player in the NFL that year). In a Monday night game against the Los Angeles Rams, Taylor scored touchdowns on two receptions of over 90 yards, an NFL first. He also set a record for most receiving yards in back-to-back games with a total of 448, a record he held until November 2006 when Chad Johnson (now Chad Ocho Cinco) of the Cincinnati Bengals broke it with 450 receiving yards. He broke the 1,000 receiving yard milestone again in the 1991 season with 64 receptions for 1,011 yards and nine touchdowns (ranking him seventh in the NFL). In his nine NFL seasons, Taylor recorded 347 receptions for 5,589 yards (an average of 16.1 yards per catch) and 43 touchdowns. He also gained 1,517 yards and two touchdowns returning punts, and added another 276 yards returning kickoffs. He was selected to play in the NFL Pro Bowl twice, in 1988 and 1989. He also won three super bowl rings in his career with the 49ers, in 1988, 1989, and 1994. His combined total of 94 punt return yards in those three games are the most by any player in Super Bowl history, and his average of 15.7 yards per return is also the highest.


In 1988, Taylor was suspended for the first four games of the NFL season for substance abuse. This marked a turning point in Taylor's career as he became very upset over the media scrutiny he received. To this day, he admits having used cocaine the first time he tested positive, but insists that the second positive test was a mistake.

Playing style

John Taylor might be best remembered for his incredible ability after the catch, but it was his ability to catch the football that allowed him to do the miraculous things he did. His immense hands were measured 11.2 inches in length at the 1986 combine, still a record for any receiver to ever come into the league. He had an uncanny ability to relax on the football field and effortlessly catch the football and run all in one fluid motion, also referred to by some scouts as "running through the ball." He was also a spectacular punt returner, had perhaps the strongest arm on the team, and was a borderline professional caliber bowler, as well as an outstanding baseball and basketball player. Known by most of his teammates as the 49ers' finest athlete during their dynasty, the only thing he didn't have was blinding 4.3 speed. The 6'1" 195-pound wide receiver was graded out as the 2nd highest-rated wide receiver in the nation before he turned in a disappointing 4.67 40-yard-dash time at the combine.

After retiring as a player

Taylor now drives for a trucking company and leads a pretty quiet life off the field. His only moments in any sort of spotlight come when he's participating in celebrity golf events, such as ones sponsored by his alma mater, Delaware State. In 2005, he was inducted into the Delaware Sports Museum and Hall of Fame.

He currently lives in Clovis, California.


External links



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