Jason Taylor: Fatherhood Is 'Most Important Thing' to Tom Brady

03/05/2009 at 06:15 AM EST

Jason Taylor: Fatherhood Is 'Most Important Thing' to Tom Brady
Jason Taylor (left) and Tom Brady
Seth Browarnik/WireImage; Amy Sussman/Getty

Tom Brady

Tom Brady

NFL star Jason Taylor may not have been at Tom Brady's Feb. 26 wedding to Gisele Bündchen, but he says his pal is focused on building a family in Los Angeles.

"He's happy, so I'm happy for him," Taylor, 34, tells PEOPLE. "He's got a little kid now and he's enjoying fatherhood. Obviously, he loves Gisele, and there's nothing like finding the right woman and being in love, so I'm happy for him."

And his friend, the Patriots quarterback, has made parenting son John – with ex, Bridget Moynahan – a priority, spending increasing time in Los Angeles to be close to him.

"Being a good father is very important to Tom – it's the most important thing," says the defensive end. "He wants to be involved with his child's life. It's not easy being away from your kids, so he's very excited to be with his son and spend as much time as he can with his son."

Gushing about fatherhood, Taylor adds: "Once you have a kid it's amazing. You get so much joy and satisfaction from being part of their lives and seeing them grow and love and develop. There's nothing else like it."

Career Changes

That sentiment was also the driving force behind Taylor's controversial decision to turn down a one-year contract with the Washington Redskins – worth $8.5 million – to stay home with his wife and children.

"Being away from my family was very difficult," says Taylor, who spent four months in Los Angeles on Dancing with the Stars before being traded by the Miami Dolphins to D.C., where he has lived for the past six months.

"As you get older in life you start to reprioritize things and realize what's important. I just wanted to reprioritize it and focus more on my family than I did on myself and my career," says Tylor.

"I know people are going to think I'm crazy, walking away from 8.5 million," says the athlete, who is back at home in Miami with wife, Katina, 33, and children Isaiah, 6, Nason, 4, and Zoe, 3. "There are certain things money can't buy, like time with your children … I didn't have a father growing up [so] I understand how important it is. I don't want to miss my kids lives."

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