Former Miami Dolphins great Zach Thomas lashed out at the organization for their handling of Jason Taylor, who agreed to terms with the AFC East-rival New York Jets on a two-year contract Tuesday.
"You've got to get a better spokesman, I'm sorry," Thomas told Sid Rosenberg Tuesday on WQAM-560 AM. "I'm not trying to be hard on [Dolphins General Manager] Jeff Ireland. But he's saying it wrong, especially for a guy who has so much history with the Miami Dolphins. He's the all-time sacks leader among active players, and you're going to talk about him like he's a first- or second-year player. He should know how to respect guys that have been great to the game. ... That's fine if you don't have a need for him. But you tell him up front. And you don't go through the media and act like you're shocked that it's being brought up. I don't like the organization to look bad that way."
Thomas was angered that Ireland said the team would wait until after the draft before deciding whether to make an offer to the 2006 NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
"If you're not their guy, that's fine," he said. "But you've got to know to respect great players. You've got to know that. Jason is going to be a Hall of Famer. He's going to be in the [Dolphins Ring] of Honor. His name is always going to be in Dolphin Stadium, and that's big. And you know what, you can do it in a different approach. It might not be their approach. But I get disappointed when I see guys that have put everything on the line for the Dolphins organization and have a Hall-of-Fame career like Jason Taylor and it goes down like it has the last couple weeks . . .
"I know [the Dolphins] called a meeting and then they just canceled it," Thomas said. "So that's just another thing. I just wish they would have handled it better. Just be up front and let the guy move on. Look, I know everyone's going to be in an uproar because everybody hates the Jets -- I hate the Jets -- but he has to what he's got to do and get respect. You're driven by respect as a player, especially the good ones. And he's got that from Rex Ryan. Hopefully, [the Dolphins] will learn from this."
Thomas said Taylor, his brother-in-law and former teammate, felt unappreciated and disrespected by the Dolphins.
"He's sad," said Thomas. "He waited as long as he could. Everyone wants to feel wanted. Jason wanted to be wanted. The Jets wanted him. They're a team on the rise. I hate to say it, they've got the No. 1 defense and now they're going to be even stronger."
Thomas criticized Dolphins coach Tony Sparano for Taylor's role on the team last season.
"You don't think Rex Ryan has a game plan for Jason Taylor? It's going to be better than the game plan they were utilizing him last year. I hated watching it, when they were taking him out on third down. It's like taking Bruce Smith out on third down. That was frustrating for me. I'm a fan now. You want to take one of the best pass-rushers of all-time out on third down! I don't know how Dolphins fans are now, but I'm frustrated. ... I'm always going to be a supporter. I'm going to cheer for the Dolphins all year long. I'm not going to be a bitter guy. But, right now, I will say when it crosses the line and the way they dealt with Jason was disappointing."
Thomas also said he wasn't happy with the way the Dolphins handled his departure from the team.
"The only thing that was like a punch in the gut to me was the day I was cleaning out my locker the day they cut me, [agent] Drew [Rosenhaus] asked them if I could just say thanks to the fans through the media at the Dolphins facility and their answer was, 'No, he's not a Dolphins player anymore, he's got to do it off premises.' That's when you know, like, 'Wow,' the whole loyalty and everything they preach with team and things like that goes out the window."Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times