Taylor won't say if fans' goodbye was real thing

January 10, 1994|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,Staff Writer

EAST RUTHEERFORD, N.J. — EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- If this was goodbye, Lawrence Taylor wasn't telling.

But if this was his swan song at Giants Stadium, it sounded sweetly like a nightingale's.

Yes, the third-quarter chant of "LT," when a crowd of 75,089 saluted one of the game's all-time greats, was heartfelt.

"I appreciate it," the future Hall of Fame linebacker said 'u yesterday after the New York Giants brushed past the Minnesota Vikings, 17-10, in an NFC wild-card game.

"I appreciate the 13 years they've given me. If it was my last game, so be it. On Sunday, there are a lot of reasons why you go out and play -- you've got family, friends, teammates, the Lord Jesus Christ. All the glory and everything you get out of that is worth it when you get the fans behind you.

"I have no regrets over 13 years. They [the fans] gave me a lot of [memories] to smile about."

Although Taylor, 34, said last week he has reached a decision about retirement after this season, he isn't about to divulge it. But indications are that this was LT's final appearance in Giants Stadium.

"I'm not going to say if this is the end," he said. "If it was, that's the way I would like to go out, in a game such as that, where everything is on the line and the crowd is chanting my name. That was pretty nice."

It was everything Taylor would have wanted -- except a dominating performance. In a season when even his playing time has been cut, Taylor gave a workmanlike effort, but far short of his intimidating past.

He made three tackles and defensed one pass, but the man who has 132 1/2 sacks couldn't pull off the play that made him great.

"I was trying to get a sack, but they put a tight end over there," Taylor said.

Taylor made his presence felt, nevertheless, with a halftime locker-room talk. He declined to repeat the message he delivered.

"I've changed my ways," he said. "I don't like to cuss in public. But we did get a little vocal."

Taylor said he was upset that the Giants gave up 10 points in the final two minutes of the half to fall behind, 10-3. After halftime, the Giants registered three sacks and several punishing hits on Vikings quarterback Jim McMahon, who left the game twice because of injuries.

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