By Larry Fine
FLORHAM PARK, New Jersey (Reuters) - To some Jets, a trip the AFC Championship may feel like an annual rite, so New York elders LaDainian Tomlinson and Jason Taylor on Thursday preached the importance of seizing the opportunity.
Running back Tomlinson, 31, and pass-rusher Taylor, 36, two of the NFL's best players of the last decade, moved to New York this year with the dream of reaching and winning their first Super Bowl and they have urged team mates to seize the day.
"We've talked about it quite a bit, knowing that this doesn't happen often, never knowing when you're going to get another opportunity," said five-time Pro Bowler Tomlinson, who played his first nine seasons with the San Diego Chargers.
"They can look at myself and Jason Taylor to see that."
Taylor, who played most of his 14-year career with the Miami Dolphins, is a six-time Pro Bowler who never went beyond the second round of the playoffs.
"Rex (Ryan, the Jets coach) called me out one day after practice and asked me to tell the team the last time I was in the playoffs and how long it's taken for me to get back," said Taylor, who last reached the second round in 2000.
"The message has been told. Some of these young guys can come and see a guy that's had success in this league and had a decent career...but I've never been to this point. Fourteen years to get to where we are today is a long time."
Tomlinson, the NFL's active leader in touchdowns (159) who trails only Jerry Rice and Emmitt Smith on the all-time list, said he could not put into words what it would mean to him to advance to the Super Bowl but could picture the moment.
"I can imagine the feeling because every year you see a team that walks off that field in the AFC championship game, going to the Super Bowl and you see the excitement on guys' faces and the atmosphere and how proud guys are," he said after practice at the Jets' training facility.
"I've seen a lot of highs, seen a lot of lows, had a lot of individual success but didn't get a chance to taste that team success," said Taylor, who has more career sacks (132.5) than any other active NFL player.
"This is the ultimate team game. That's what you want. You want the ring. All the other things are great...but not winning as a team and not winning a championship -- it's not worth it."
(Editing by Rex Gowar)