Teams acquire players that become inseparable from their identity. The 49ers have Joe Montana, the Dolphins have Dan Marino, and the Colts have Peyton Manning. For the Jaguars it is Fred Taylor and for the modern era Browns, it was Bernie Kosar.
During Week 8 of the 1993 season, then Browns coach Bill "The Asterisk" Belichick cut Kosar because of "Diminishing skills." Browns fans reacted in anger, some refusing to attend games, and simply made a bad situation worse. Already mired in rumors of leaving, within two seasons, the Browns would leave Cleveland to become the Baltimore Ravens. Many see the release of Kosar as the final blow to public support for a new Stadium for the Browns and the trigger to bring the Browns to Baltimore.
Today, the Jaguars sit on another such moment. The release of franchise legend Fred Taylor has visibly angered a fanbase already grumbling from a catastrophic season. Say what you want about salary cap hits and getting old, Fred Taylor but people's butts in the stadium. I have bought two Jaguars jerseys in my life, a #8 Mark Brunell in 1996, and in 2003 a Black Fred Taylor.
This is a team already struggling to get people into the stadium, and I believe this move was done for the wrong reasons. If Taylor was willing to take a paycut, the Jaguars should have allowed him to remain with the team and retire on his own terms. He was a piece of the franchise that had people coming back, and would have helped smooth over the transition to the 2009 season.
Now, the team has alienated many in its fanbase, including yours truly. I hope the team rebounds in 2009, as I could see this moment being pointed at by many when the Jacksonville Jaguars started becoming the Los Angeles Jaguars.