A Washington football legend who made eight Pro Bowls and was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1984, Charley Taylor has passed away at the age of 80.
From 1964-1977, Taylor shined for Washington, earning AP Rookie of the Year and going on to star at running back, split end and wide receiver to leave an indelible mark on the franchise.
"We are incredibly saddened to hear the news about the passing of the great Charley Taylor," Washington owners Dan and Tanya Snyder said in a team statement. "Charley is a member of the Washington Ring of Fame and one of the most decorated players in franchise history. He retired as the NFL's all-time leader in receptions and holds our franchise record for total touchdowns. His achievements were recognized by the entire NFL community with his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1984. He represented the organization with excellence and class over three decades as a player and coach. Charley was a great man and will be sorely missed by all. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Patricia and the entire Taylor family during this time."
Selected third overall in the 1964 NFL Draft (and ninth overall by the AFL's Houston Oilers) out of Arizona State, Taylor starred for Washington throughout a decorated 13-season career.
"As a kid who loved football, I watched the Washington teams of the 1970s compete at a high level and quickly became a fan of the player wearing No. 42. He seemed to make everything look so easy," Hall of Fame president Jim Porter said in a statement. "Charley was never a man of many words, and in his brief Enshrinement speech, he didn't say much about the game. He mentioned God several times. He thanked God for his good fortunes and he expressed his deep belief in God.
"We extend our thoughts and prayers to Charley's wife, Pat, and the entire family and take comfort that their faith will help see them through this difficult time. The Hall of Fame will guard Charley's legacy forever. The Hall of Fame flag will be flown at half-staff in his memory."
Amid his myriad accolades, he helped Washington to its first Super Bowl appearance, was a member of the Hall of Fame's All-1960s Team, was a first-team All-Pro in 1967, twice led the league in receptions and helped a struggling club develop into one that was a postseason mainstay.
Taylor retired with 649 receptions, which were the most in NFL history when he called it a career after the 1977 season. His 9,110 receiving yards were fourth all time upon his retirement, his 79 touchdown catches seventh and his 10,598 scrimmage yards were sixth.
A model of versatility, Taylor was the first player in NFL history with 700 or more rushing yards and 700-plus receiving yards in a single season, a feat he accomplished as a rookie.
When he started his days in Washington, the franchise struggled, failing to make the postseason until 1971, which began a string of five postseason berths in six seasons. That run included a march to Super Bowl VII, where Washington lost to the undefeated Miami Dolphins.
Taylor's time with Washington extended beyond his playing days, as he was part of the club's front office as a scout with fellow Hall of Famer Bobby Mitchell and later coached wide receivers under head coach Joe Gibbs, spending three decades with Washington, according to the team website.