Jason Taylor, the defensive end of the Miami Dolphins and more recently the runner-up contestant on the hit TV show “Dancing with the Stars”, called a press conference Sunday to clear the air about some of the unbelievable rumors that have been printed and perhaps even fabricated by the press.

The six-time All-Pro and 11-year National Football League veteran, who has played all 172 career games for the Miami Dolphins, was anxious to dispel many of the rumors about his football future that evolved during and after his episode with the popular television dancing competition that appeared throughout most of the spring on ABC-TV.

Even last weekend when Taylor called the news conference, South Florida sports media members reported that he was demanding a trade from the Dolphins which was absolutely false according to Taylor and his agent Gary Wichard.

The Dolphins’ new executive vice president of football operations Bill Parcells was upset that the Dolphins’ best player, Taylor, elected to continue with “Dancing with the Stars” than to work out with his teammates at the Dolphins’ mini-camps, which they were not required by the contract to attend.

“I’m under contract with the Dolphins,” Taylor said recently. “That’s where I want to be. It’s where I am and I’m not retiring.  Football training camp doesn’t start until July, so I’ll be all right.”

Miami’s new head coach Tony Sparano, who was a Dallas Cowboys assistant before being named the Dolphins’ choice to take over the coaching reins, said last week that Taylor isn’t expected to take part in any team activities until training camp. Taylor had met with Sparano before agreeing to be a celebrity contestant on “Dancing with the Stars.”

Although Parcells and Taylor have never spoken face-to-face since he became a television celebrity, there has been a continuous rift between the successful coach and the player that seems to widen every day.

Parcells has been unhappy that his best player has been focused on a budding Hollywood career rather than being back in Florida working out with his teammates. In fact, Parcells implied that he might even try to trade Taylor.

When that rumor began to spread, Parcells’ phone started ringing off the hook with teams interested in trading for a player of Taylor ’s caliber. Jacksonville Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio said his team pursued a deal with Miami , but the Dolphins immediately took Taylor off the trading block.

“We talked,” Del Rio said. “They had a certain price in mind, but nobody in the league was interested in that price.” Taylor had 11 sacks last season to increase his career total to 117, which ranks third among active players. He made the Pro Bowl and was chosen NFL Man of the Year.

In late April, Taylor took a break from “Dancing with the Stars” and visited with some of the Dolphins players in South Florida . According to the Miami Herald, after receiving a warm reception from his teammates, Taylor decided to seek out Parcells.

But according to the Herald, Parcells had no interest in talking with Taylor . Parcells was watching football tapes, looked at Taylor but didn’t speak and resumed watching the tapes. When asked at Sunday’s press conference if this really happened, Taylor confirmed it.

But Taylor insists that he has never requested a trade from the Dolphins but said he’d accept a trade only if it would help the Dolphins. And he has made it pretty clear that he wants to play one more season before moving on to an acting career. But he also wants to leave football a winner.

“I want to win in ’08. That’s what I want to do,” Taylor said at his press conference Sunday. “And I’ve told the Dolphins from Day One that was my intention. And if a trade doesn’t work out, then I’m a Miami Dolphin.”

But after playing on the 1-15 team last season, the prospects of the Dolphins being turned into a winner for the 2008 season seem quite remote to say the least. As far as this Korner is concerned, the only way Jason Taylor can end his career with a winning team for the 2008 season is with any team other than the Miami Dolphins.

KWICKIES…It looks as if our Houston Astros began their annual June Swoon a few days early as their losing streak reached five straight with a 10-1 shellacking at Milwaukee Sunday afternoon. After having one of their best months of May in a long time, the Astros only scored six runs in those five losses. After spending an off-day Monday in Pittsburgh , the Astros will play a three-game series against the Pirates beginning Tuesday and return home to meet the St. Louis Cardinals for a weekend series beginning Friday at Minute Maid Park .

Congrats to the Buna Cougars for sweeping Hemphill in two games to earn a berth in the Class 2A state baseball tournament in Round Rock this week. The Cougars (22-6) scored eight runs in the sixth inning to overtake the Hornets 9-8 in Thursday’s regional championship series. Buna finished the task Saturday with an 8-0 white washing to earn their first trip to the state tournament since the Coogs were a Class 3A team back in 1991. Buna will meet the Corsicana Mildred Eagles (30-6) in the opening round Wednesday at 1 p.m. with the winner of this game meeting the winner between San Angelo Grape Creek (30-6) and Salado (30-6) for the Class 2A state championship Thursday ay 2 p.m.. The only other Southeast Texas team in the state finals is West Sabine (26-7) which will meet Bosqueville (19-6-1) in the Class A semifinal round at 1 p.m. Friday. The semifinal winner will meet the winner between Flatonia (24-5-1) and Seymour (17-12) for the Class A title Saturday at 4 p.m.

After a month of playoffs, the NBA championship finals will begin Thursday in Boston between the Celtics and the surging Los Angeles Lakers. Although the Lakers are favored to be the 2008 world champions, this Korner likes the Celtics in seven games.

Big Brown seems to have no side effects from his split hoof problem and should breeze to a win in the 140th Belmont stakes Saturday to become the 12th Triple Crown winner and first  since Affirmed turned the trick back in 1978. If Big Brown suffers his first career loss Saturday it will probably be Japanese colt Casino Drive ridden by Edgar Prado that creates the upset. Prado spoiled two of the past three Triple Crown attempts, bringing home 36-1 long shot Birdstone in 2004 to end unbeaten Smarty Jones’ bid and winning aboard 70-1 long shot Sarava to defeat War Emblem in 2002.

JUST BETWEEN US…The talk around the baseball world is the way former Beaumont West Brook baseball player Jay Bruce burst upon the major league scene last week with the Cincinnati Reds. Besides going 13-for-22 for a hefty .591 batting average in his first week, Bruce capped his weeklong debut Saturday with his first home run, a solo shot in the bottom of the 10th inning that gave Cincy an 8-7 win over the stunned Atlanta Braves. As he rounded the bases the 38,585 fans began chanting “BRUUUUCE” and then he got pummeled by his teammates when he reached home plate. “That’s the first walk-off home run in my life at any level of baseball,” Bruce said.

He finished a great week Sunday by going two-for-three and slamming his second home run in as many days. And for Atlanta , it was the 20th straight one-run game the Braves have lost on the road dating back to last August, matching the second-longest streak in major league history.