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Is Taylor Barton returning to the UW?
By Richard Linde, 4 March 2005
The following is a letter we received yesterday from Mr. Jay
Waldron, who is handling Taylor Barton's affairs, his hospital bills -- that is
the Taylor Barton Fund. Below that is an excerpt from an article I wrote, "His Longest Yard."
Dear Richard and Audrey,
On Wednesday, February 23rd Taylor had surgery to deal with the internal scar
tissue he had from previous procedures. The operation was successful. He will
have a two or three week recovery period, then he should be fine. The funds that
you generously contributed helped Taylor pay for this operation. He will have
substantial funds to address any future needs.
Jay T. Waldron
Cc: Taylor Barton
At this time, Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times is checking out
the story that Barton may be headed to Washington as a graduate assistant coach,
just e-mailing me of that fact.
down. It’s bad. His right shoulder and arm hanging limp, Pickett leaves the
playing field with the Huskies behind 14-7 late in the second quarter.
“Now playing quarterback for Washington, number 12, Taylor Barton,” Lou
Gellerman announces, his words bellowing throughout the stadium, disquieting to its
Obviously nervous and out of synch with his center Kyle Benn, Barton fumbles
three center exchanges after taking over for Pickett. After the break, the
coaching staff eases Barton into the game by letting him run two plays from the
shotgun. Barton runs the ball twice, the agony of the last hit, paradoxically,
easing his nerves.
For a moment he remembers the silent treatment at Colorado. That
noiseless, volcanic voice -- both disquieting and deafening -- told the
prescient Barton he needed to return to his roots, the Northwest, for his chance
Taylor has a magnificent second half, throwing for 197 yards, completing 11 out
of 20 passes, with no interceptions. With the scored tied at 24, he engineers a
49-yard-10-play drive, which takes the Huskies to the Trojan 15. Now it is
John Anderson’s turn to excel and he boots a 32-yard field goal to win the game
with just 3 seconds remaining.
And then the following week, the game against UCLA, Barton plays with courage
and dedication, passing for 340 yards and one touchdown, going 23-44-1 on a hot,
blistering day at the Rose Bowl -- which, ironically, sits on an alluvial fan called the Arroyo Seco
(literally, "dry stream.") That stream of adrenaline that an athlete
calls on in the midst of mayhem went dry for the rest of the Huskies that day.
Without a running game to keep the defense honest, Barton is as helpless as
runner lugging weights in Pamplona. He is bulled to the ground 21 times,
gets up each time, but doesn't let the lingering pain derail his concentration.
After the game, he’s taken to the
hospital, suffering from a concussion, a sprained foot and dehydration.
Caught on television, with a certain reminiscence of the "Longest Yard," DE Dave
Ball goes one-on-one with Barton, hammering him to the ground after a pick. A
week later, Ball apologizes for the thoughtless incident and Taylor accepts his
Barton played in 5 games during the 2001 season. He passed for 647 yards,
completing 44 of 86 passes with 5 touchdowns and 2 picks.
On Picture Day, in August of 2002, I wished Taylor luck, saying I hoped that he
would get to play against UCLA in November. Joking about the prior game with
UCLA, he asked me if I’d seen the movie, “The longest yard.” I laughed along
with nearby fans. He seemed in good spirits then and was not yet showing the
effects of the disease that was ravaging his body. It was only when I returned
home that I noticed the picture I had taken of him was remarkably different from
my one of the year before (see photo above).
Barton said some coaches and trainers and a couple of teammates had an idea of
what was going on, "but I don't think they knew the extent. The doctors told me
I looked a lot better than I physically was." [quote from Bob Condotta].
A month later, Barton checked himself into a hospital in Portland, went on a
liquid diet to quiet his colon and took higher doses of Prednisone, a medication
used to treat ulcerative colitis.
During the 2002 season, Barton threw 8 passes, completed 7 for 42 yards, and
played in 5 games. Amazingly, he was able to practice with the two's all season,
and was Pickett's backup if the unforeseen should have occurred.
As luck would have it, a broken finger on his right hand kept him from playing
against Purdue in the Sun Bowl, a game in which Rick Neuheisel had promised him
significant playing time.
Nine months later -- whittled to a shell of himself as he carries a football-sized
bag of nutrients -- fans and old friends of his barely recognize him on the
Could he have once played collegiate football, some wonder?
With USC on a roll these days and Washington in turmoil, Taylor Barton, may be
the last quarterback to have led the Huskies to a victory over the Trojans for
some time in the future.
Hopefully, his name won't just be an answer to a trivia question, especially if
life gives him the break he deserves. He has too much to impart, so much to give
to other people.
Taylor battled his way into the UW, captured our hearts, and is now fighting for
total recovery, in this his longest yard. He's worth 85 scholarships in anyone’s
heart and on anyone’s team, the most you can have.
Richard Linde (a.k.a., Malamute) can be reached at