Miami's Most Influential Couples
BY LINDA LEE
PHOTOGRAPHY BY PRESSCOTT MCDONALD
Jason and Katina Taylor
Shortly before New Year’s Day, Dolphins outside linebacker/defensive end Jason Taylor, 37, announced he was retiring from football after spending 13 years in Miami. But there’s an upside. While the city will lose one of the most beloved and celebrated Dophins of the last two decades, a player who was named both NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year and the NFL Man of the Year, it means Jason Taylor is here to stay. He and his wife, Katina, noted philanthropists in town, can continue their good works locally, spread their influence, and not worry that an NFL trade might take them to another city.
A key involvement for the couple is the Jason Taylor Foundation, which has contributed more than $2,500,000 toward programs for underprivileged children. “We run it in a very free and democratic way,” Jason says. “Between myself, my wife, and my director, we’re always throwing ideas out there.”
With her interest in physical fitness, Katina also began Camp Katina—Cartwheels to Character, a gymnastics, cheerleading, and character-building program for girls age seven to 12. She appeared in a 10-week workout video series aimed at girls in grades three to five. The couple’s other foundation activities include after-school literacy and back-to-school clothes shopping programs, mentoring, golf and pingpong fundraising tournaments, and a football camp.
Jason’s retirement might mean that Katina will ramp up her career in broadcasting again (she was a sports reporter for CBS4 in Miami). “She’s got the face and the attitude, the energy, and the personality for it,” Jason says. “She’s got a lot more personality than I do.” Katina responds, “He would like to take a back seat and relax—he’s a huge cheerleader and would like me to work. But I love being a wife.”
Katina, 36, grew up in rural Texas, and Jason was raised in suburban Pittsburgh. Football and Miami, in fact, brought them together. Her brother is the linebacker Zach Thomas, Jason’s former Dolphins teammate. “[Zach] was the coolest—I was the little sister,” she says. Katina was also an enthusiastic dancer. Jason, not so much. At their wedding in Pampa, Texas, in 2001, she says, “He just swayed back and forth.” His moves, however, improved greatly following his appearance on Dancing with the Stars in 2008. “He can do whatever he puts his mind to,” she says.
Sundays will often find them out on the boat with their three children, Isaiah, Mason, and Zoe. “We balance each other out. We’re best friends. We laugh, and giggle at the kids,” Katina says. “He came from a really rough beginning, and over the years he became an amazing man.” She may wait until the children are a little older to pursue her television career, but Jason may not stick with retirement for long. “I wouldn’t mind doing the movies,” he says.
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