osh Heinrich Taves (b. May 13, 1962), from Watsonville, California, a former standout at Northeastern University and in NFL Europe, played as a defensive lineman with the Oakland Raiders during the 2000 and 2001 seasons. After being cut by the Raiders prior to the 2002 season, Josh signed with the Carolina Panthers in November. During the season, he appeared in Carolina's final five games and registered five tackles. The Panthers finished the season with a record of 7-9. Expected to play in 2003, Taves was placed on injured reserve with a groin injury by the Panthers on August 26 and waived four days later. He did not play during the 2003 season.
Taves had an outstanding career at Northeastern before playing in the NFL. A four-year letterman, Josh had a career-best 43 tackles in 1993 (with three sacks and four fumble recoveries) for the Huskies (2-9-0). In 1994, he had 42 tackles and a career-high four sacks and Northeastern had a record of 2-9-0. Josh was named to the Jewish Sports Congress' Jewish All-American team his final two years at Northeastern.
After graduating in 1995, Taves went undrafted by the NFL and originally signed with the Detroit Lions as a rookie free agent. Josh did not play for the Lions that year and was signed by the New England Patriots for the 1997 season, but he did not play that year either. In 1998, Taves played for the Barcelona Dragons of NFL Europe. He started all ten games for the Dragons and had 34 tackles, a team-high nine sacks, and three forced fumbles. He was named first-team All-NFL Europe, and the league's defensive MVP in 1998. Later that year, he was signed by the Miami Dolphins but did not play in the NFL.
In 1999, the Raiders signed Taves but released him before the season; he then signed with the team again in 2000 and played in every game. In the regular season, Josh had 23 total tackles (20 solo), three sacks, two forced fumbles, and one interception. In the January 6 play-off game against Jay Fiedler and the Miami Dolphins, Taves assisted in one tackle in Oakland's 27-0 victory -- it was the first play-off shutout in Raiders history. In the 2001 AFC Championship game, Josh had two tackles (one solo and one unassisted) in the Raiders' 16-3 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.
The Raiders finished the 2001 regular season with a record of 10-6 and won the AFC West. During the season, Taves made 12 tackles (9 unassisted) with one sack. In the playoffs, they defeated the New York Jets in the first round but lost in their next game to the New England Patriots on a controversial call by the officials. In a snowstorm, the Raiders looked on their way to victory when cornerback Charles Woodsen hit Patriot quarterback Tom Brady and the ball popped loose. The Raiders recovered the ball, but the officials ruled it an incomplete pass because Brady's arm was going forward, although he clearly had 'tucked' the ball before getting hit. The Pats then tied the game in regulation (less than one minute remained) and won it in overtime, 16-13 (Taves registered two tackles during the game).
Following the 2001 season, Taves was left unprotected by the Raiders in the expansion draft for the Houston Texans. He went undrafted by the Texans, but was waived by the Raiders on September 1, 2002, prior to the start of the regular season.
Josh finished with 86 tackles, 8 sacks, and 4 fumble recoveries at Northeastern. With Barcelona, Taves started all ten games and finished with 34 tackles, a league-leading 9 sacks.
Sources: Jews in Sports