His father worked as a dispatcher at the Newport News shipyards , while his mother was a schoolteacher. His mother said that "[h]e was a challenging child. Where the other two boys would ask for permission to do stuff, Lonnie Originally recruited as a defensive lineman , Taylor switched to linebacker before the season. As fate would have it for Taylor, the Saints were also the team who had the first pick in the draft.
Sure, I saw Dick Butkus play. There's no doubt in my mind about Taylor. He's bigger and stronger than Butkus was. On the blitz , he's devastating. To the raucous approval of the crowd in attendance at the draft which was held in New York City , the Giants selected him. By that I mean there was no rap on him", said head coach Ray Perkins. Taylor's talent was evident from the start of training camp.
Reports came out of the Giants training compound of the exploits of the new phenom. He's either going to run around you or over you. With his quickness, he's full speed after two steps.
Taylor did not appreciate this approach, and early on told Parcells, "I've had enough. You either cut me or trade me but get the fuck off my back. That motherfucker's got a mean streak. Aside from incurring a penalty for a late hit on Eagles running back Perry Harrington , Taylor played a nondescript game.
Louis Cardinals later in the season, Taylor rushed and sacked the passer when he was supposed to drop into coverage. When told by Parcells that was not what he was assigned to do on that play, and that what he did was not in the playbook,  Taylor responded "Well, we better put it in on Monday, because that play's a dandy. Walsh assigned guard John Ayers , the team's best blocker, to block Taylor and, although Taylor still recorded a sack and three tackles, he was not as effective as normal.
In the nationally televised Thanksgiving Day game against the Detroit Lions , the teams were tied 6—6 early in the fourth quarter, when the Lions drove deep into New York territory. Lions quarterback Gary Danielson dropped back to pass and threw the ball out to his left toward the sidelines.
Taylor ran in front of the intended receiver, intercepted the pass, and returned it 97 yards for a touchdown. He was again named Defensive Player of the Year. In the coming years this change proved crucial to the Giants and Taylor. Leading up to the season , Taylor engaged in a training camp holdout that lasted three weeks and ended when he came back to the team under his old contract with three games left in the preseason.
The team went 3—12—1,  and Parcells received heavy criticism from fans and the media. Taylor was forced to play inside linebacker for part of the season, a position which allowed him less pass rushing opportunities, when Carson was injured. His agent was able to negotiate by meeting with Trump personally and then the Giants which resulted in allowing Taylor to go with the Giants. The main results of these negotiations were threefold: In the playoffs the Giants defeated the Los Angeles Rams 16—13, but lost 21—10 to the eventual champion 49ers.
One of the more memorable plays of his career occurred during this season. On a Monday Night Football game against the Redskins, Taylor's sack of Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann inadvertently resulted in a compound fracture of Theismann's right leg. After the sack, a distraught Taylor screamed for paramedics to attend to Theismann. Although this sack ended Theismann's career, Theismann has never blamed Taylor for the injury. Taylor says he has never seen video of the play and never wants to.
During the first round of the playoffs, the Giants defeated the defending champion 49ers 17—3, but lost to the eventual champion Chicago Bears in the second round 21—0.
He recorded a league-leading With the Super Bowl win, Taylor capped off an unprecedented start to his career. After the win, however, Taylor felt let down rather than elated. Everyone was so excited, but by then I felt deflated. I'd won every award, had my best season, finally won the Super Bowl.
I was on top of the world right? So what could be next? The thrill is the chase to get to the top. Every day the excitement builds and builds and builds, and then when you're finally there and the game is over The Giants appeared to have a bright future coming off their championship season as they were one of the younger teams in the league.
They struggled the next season however, falling to 6—9 in the strike-shortened season. He explained his decision by saying "The Giants are losing. He tested positive for cocaine and was suspended by the league for thirty days, as it was his second violation of the NFL's substance abuse policy. The first result in had been kept private and was not known to the public at the time. He was kept away from the press during this period and checked himself into rehab in early September. This was especially true given the eventual career paths of talented players like Hollywood Henderson and others whose drug problems derailed their careers.
The Giants went 2—2 in the games Taylor missed. When Taylor returned he was his usual dominant self as he led the team in sacks again, with In a crucial late-season game with playoff implications against the New Orleans Saints, Taylor played through a torn pectoral muscle to record seven tackles, three sacks, and two forced fumbles. Taylor had already developed a reputation for playing through pain; in a game against the Eagles the team's training staff had to hide his helmet to prevent the injured Taylor from returning to the field.
The Giants went 12—4,  and advanced to the playoffs. In an exciting, down-to-the-wire game, the Rams eliminated the Giants 19—13 in the first round, despite Taylor's two sacks and one forced fumble. Despite sitting out training camp and the preseason, Taylor recorded three sacks and a forced fumble against the Eagles. They won 15—13,  after Taylor recovered a key fumble late in the game to set up Matt Bahr 's game-winning field goal. Final years and decline: It became the first season in his career in which he failed to make the Pro Bowl squad, after setting a then record by making it in his first ten years in the league.
Taylor finished with 7 sacks in 14 games  and the Giants defense, while still respectable, was no longer one of the top units in the league.
Taylor rebounded in the early stages of what many thought would be his final season in Through close to nine games, Taylor was on pace for 10 sacks and the Giants were 5—4. The Giants had a resurgent season in They finished 11—5, and competed for the top NFC playoff seed. He announced his retirement at the post-game press conference saying, "I think it's time for me to retire.
I've done everything I can do. I've been to Super Bowls. I've been to playoffs. I've done things that other people haven't been able to do in this game before. After 13 years, it's time for me to go. He changed the way defense is played, the way pass-rushing is played, the way linebackers play and the way offenses block linebackers.
Now you didn't do that very often in this league but I think he's one person that we learned the lesson the hard way. We lost ball games. In the late '70s and early '80s, a blitzing linebacker was picked up by a running back. However, these players were no match for Taylor. However, this left a hole in pass protection that a blitzing middle linebacker could exploit.
Later, Walsh and other coaches began using offensive tackles to block Taylor. Later it became common for offensive linemen to pick up blitzing linebackers. In addition to the changes in offensive schemes Taylor influenced, he also introduced new defensive techniques to the game such as chopping the ball out of the quarterback's hands rather than tackling him. When Taylor was once asked what he could do that no outside linebacker could, his answer was, "Drink".
After admitting to and testing positive for cocaine in , he was suspended from football for 30 days in after failing a second drug test. After his second positive test he gave up drugs for five years as a third positive test would have ended his career.
He went through drug rehab twice in , only to later be arrested twice over a three-year span for attempting to buy cocaine from undercover police officers. I mean my place was almost like a crack house. He said, "A couple of ladies that were trying out some new equipment they had. And I just happened to, and they just didn't happen to have the key.
We're not in the '90s anymore. You have to govern yourself accordingly. Taylor has also had self-inflicted financial problems; in he pleaded guilty to filing a false tax return in , and in he was "sentenced to three months of house arrest, five years of probation, and hours of community service for tax evasion. Simms celebrated the moment by throwing an impromptu ceremonial pass to Taylor.
Simms recalled, "[a]ll of a sudden it kind of hit me, I've put Lawrence in a really tough spot; national TV, he's got dress shoes and a sports jacket on, and he's had a few beers and he's going to run down the field and I'm going to throw him a pass.
Taylor later said the situation made him more nervous than any play of his career, "I'm saying to myself as the pass is being thrown , 'If I drop this pass, I got to run my black ass all the way back to Upper Saddle River because there ain't no way I'm going to be able to stay in that stadium'.
He also had a role in the version of Shaft.