Three Years Later, We Remember Sean Taylor

It was three years ago, this Saturday. Redskins safety Sean Taylor was at his home in Miami with girlfriend Jackie Garcia and their 18 month old daughter recovering from a sprained MCL he sustained against the Eagles. The couple heard a loud noise coming from inside the house. As Taylor grabbed the knife he kept in near his bed a man broke through their bedroom door and fired two shots. One shot missed both Taylor and his girlfriend, the second changed the future of the Taylor family and the Redskins franchise forever.

Sean Michael Maurice Taylor, age 24, died on November 27th, 2007 from severe blood loss due to a gun shot wound in his femoral artery. The main suspect (and now defendant) in this case has been charged with 1st degree murder and faces life in jail, as the death penalty has been taken off the table (he was a minor at the time of the shooting). The trial date has been postponed many times over the last three years but now there is a tentative date of December 10th. The Taylor family and Redskins nation should receive some form of closure in this matter soon. On this third anniversary of his passing, we remember the man that was Sean Taylor.

Sean played with more heart than any player I had ever seen in person or on film. Fearlessly, he launched his body sideline to sideline on every play. Sean had only one gear and that gear was fifth. He won jump balls with Randy Moss, put Terrell Owens in the dirt and forced Todd Pinkston to rethink his routes over the middle. He simply did not know how to take a play off, as evidenced by his absolute annihilation of punter Brian Mooreman in his first Pro Bowl.

I always loved Taylor leveling Brian Moorman on the fake punt in the Pro Bowl.  I’m the only person I know who always watches and enjoys the entire Pro Bowl, and that hit – the fact that one of my favorite players seemed to be actually *gasp!* enjoying the all-star game – that just made me like him all the more. - Redskins Blog’s Matt Terl.

While Taylor was known for his big hits, he was becoming a solid cover safety as well. He totaled 299 tackles (238 solo), two sacks, eight forced fumbles and twelve interceptions through his 55 game career with Washington. Sports Illustrated named him the NFL’s hardest hitter in 2007, and he was the first player in NFL history to be voted to the Pro Bowl posthumously. The man on the field could seemingly do no wrong. The most tragic thing about his untimely death was the fact that he was finally turning his personal life around, mainly due to the birth of his then 18 month old daughter Jackie.

The death of Sean Taylor, while sad, actually inspired the city of Washington and its team in a way never before witnessed. The Redskins and Owner Daniel Snyder immediately set up the Sean Taylor memorial trust fund and subsequently dedicated a minimum of $500,000. The trust fund was set up to support Sean’s only child Jackie and ensure her financial security as well as her future education. Proceeds from his jersey sales and other apparel were placed into the fund as well. The Sean Taylor Foundation was also created in his memory. This foundation uses donations and volunteers to reach out to the south Florida community through mentoring and physical activities. On the field, the Redskins played inspired football and made an improbable run to the playoffs that year after a 5-7 start.

Sean Taylor’s passing was to Redskins fans, a day that will live in infamy. I decided to talk to some of the Redskins faithful and get their thoughts about him and his passing.

I was actually in Miami at school, so it was sad for me both as a student at the University of Miami and a Redskins fan…I remember thinking about his family and how terrified and awful I felt, especially for his daughter. When I heard the sound byte of him talking about growing up and his daughter I think I shed a tear. - Miles Aghajanian, contributor to Riggo’s Rag and former University of Miami student.

My immediate reaction was disbelief.  Sadness, of course, but primarily that frustrating feeling that this couldn’t possibly be happening. Like everyone else, I had gone to bed the night before with the last news sounding promising – the supposed squeeze of a nurse’s hand – so that fed into the natural shock of a larger-than-life figure being murdered in what then sounded like a bizarre botched home invasion. – Matt Terl, head writer for The Official Washington Redskins Blog.

I was at work and my cousin had instant messaged me. At first I was upset, thinking he got himself into trouble with ghosts from his past. As soon as I learned of the situation I was greatly saddened and locked in to getting updates of his status. I was briefly comforted when I learned he was able to squeeze his nurse’s hand on command. The next morning, my sister knocked on my door and told me I had to see something on TV. It was the news report that he had passed. That was the saddest day for me in a non-family related way. This was my “John Lennon has been shot” moment. - Ryan John Estorninos, editor and head writer for Riggo’s Rag.

I also asked fans about their favorite Sean Taylor memories, on or off the field.

Two weeks before it happened my brother had the opportunity to see the Skins and Taylor was the only one who took the time, not only to give him an autograph, but to talk to him about football. My brother is being recruited at age twelve by some of the biggest football high schools in the country and I think meeting Taylor meant a lot to him. - Morgan Young, Prince George’s County native and student at West Virginia University.

Sean Taylor leaps into the endzone against Philadelphia

His fumble return for a touchdown to seal the deal versus Philly.  He was a freakishly talented athlete, and this play showed it. He picked up the ball like a short stop, and bolted for the end zone like a mad man. Joe Buck’s call is forever burned in my head – “…and the scramble for the loose ball.  And it’s into the arms of Taylor.  And Sean Taylor will glide to the end zone and jump for the touchdown!” - Ryan John Estorninos, editor and head writer for Riggo’s Rag.

Sean Taylor puts Terrell Owens in his place

There are so many, but what always sticks out the most for me is the way he played against Terrell Owens. It seemed like he made it personal because every hit he put on T.O. was a big one. I remember one game in particular when T.O. was with Dallas, it got to where it felt like he was afraid to even catch the ball and missed several passes that should have been caught. - Scott Steward, Riggo’s Rag contributor.

Sean Taylor returns a blocked field goal attempt against Dallas

I was at the game when Sean Taylor picked up Troy Vincent’s blocked Dallas’ game winning field goal attempt and returned it into field goal range, had his face mask held, and allowed us to kick the game winner.  It was one of the craziest moments I have witnessed in sports and seeing Sean Taylor win the game for us like that was awesome. – Miles Aghajanian, Riggo’s Rag contributor.

Sean Taylor defends Randy Moss in the endzone

My first memory of Sean is from the first Redskins game I ever attended. It was January of 2005, the Redskins were 5-10 and out of the hunt, the Vikings were 8-7 and in control of their own playoff destiny. Sean came up with a key goal line stop and even won a jump ball with Randy Moss. This was also the game in which Randy Moss walked off the field with time left on the clock. The Redskins won that game 21-18 and it started my infatuation with Taylor the player.

I remember being in high school and talking about the Redskins and their 5th overall pick at lunch. The debate was Kellen Winslow Jr. or Sean Taylor? I said Sean was too good to pass on, and thankfully Joe Gibbs agreed with me. Sean Taylor became my favorite player almost instantly. When I signed up to play varsity football, I chose the 36 jersey. The first Redskins jersey I ever purchased with my own money was Taylor’s 21 in white. This Thanksgiving I’d like to take the time to give thanks for Sean, the athlete and the person. I’d also like to give thanks to those that helped to raise Sean and afforded him the opportunity to make an impact in so many people’s lives.

I encourage all of you reading this post to watch the video I’ve included below. It’s a very moving tribute to Sean Taylor and his career from high school to the NFL.

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Tags: 21 36 Eagles Florida Home Hurricanes Kellen Winslow Jr MCL Tear Miami November Randy Moss Redskins Redskins Blog Riggos Rag Sean Taylor Shooting Terrell Owens Trial Washington Washington Redskins

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  • Scott Stewart

    nicely done… I definitely enjoyed this post

    • Kevin Mawyer II

      Thank you sir, He was and still is my favorite player and favorite modern era Redskin. It took me almost a full week to get this one done. I watched the video at the end almost 5 whole time and it got me every time. I can’t believe it’s already been 3 years.

      Rest in Peace Sean Taylor.

  • Jim McNally

    Awesome!!! This may be the best tribute video I have seen. Quality of the video and love the song. It’s funny, every year my girlfriend asks me what I want for Christmas, and I say nothing special. Well I just paused your video on the pic of Sean holding his daughter before the Arizona game that last year and told her that picture is what I want. That pic has always gotten to me, and that is how I will always remember him……Thanks….

    • Kevin Mawyer II

      Thanks for reading, it’s good to see the positive impact he’s made.

  • Eric

    Was lucky to see 21 play in person. His intensity was incredible. Was at the Dallas game at Fed Ex when he returned the blocked kick, was at his last game played at Fed Ex. Hearing the new he was shot was horrible, hearing that he didn’t make it through the night was even worse. RIP 21.

    • Kevin Mawyer II

      I saw him in person 3 times…I can still remember seeing him run into a pile of vikings linemen on the goal line and seeing their RB (cant remember who it was at the time) just fall flat on his face. Sean was headed towards a hall of fame career in my opinion…hope everybody can go check out the memorial at FedEx.

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  • Keezie

    I was blessed to have been one of the few that meet him right before he passed. In fact it was just getting ready to become the so called “off season” they had already played their last game and he was simply headed to the park (Redskin park) when I spotted him at the light. Now at the time I had no idea it was him. The windows were slightly tinted and he was a few cars away but funny thing is I was already headed towards the park as I was talking to my sister on the phone early this Sunday morning and thought… humm I know its one of the players I told her I don’t know who but they are in a nice looking Tahoe and headed towards the park. So now im curious and just wanting to see who will step out so I calmly, slowly stay behind far enough where by the time I pull up to where they are going to park they will be stepping out. Well, long story short the truck pulls into #21′s parking space so I thought… naaa cant be they are just running in real quick and took that spot because it was up front. Then next thing I know, I see Sean pop out and start heading towards the door so I quickly jump out my car that is not even parked at this time & yells SEAN! He turns around and looks and see me then stops (needless to say he dose not even know me) as I start walking up to him I say man, I know your in a hurry but I just wanted to say whats up to you. Now remind you that they often said that he was not a “people person” & that is why he hardly never gave an interview. Well with that being said remember that he didn’t know me from nothing & with no cameras out there not even another person around at all to try to impress or on the other hand to condemn him for just leave me hanging and throw up his hand and go on about his business. (Not to mention who could have really blamed him… safety reasons) but he didnt instead he walked towards me with his hand out and grabbed mine and say whats up? As he pulled me in like a man hug with the shoulders. So I was just like wow inside needless to say. I small talked him about how my son is a huge fan who is going to be so mad at me instead of happy because he is not with me lol He laughed. So I mentioned how I played ball in school, and would love to be out there with him he was like.. “thats whats up” then smiled. He was just so laid back & cool man I tell you. So we convoed a little longer for at least 15-20 more minutes as I had him laughing and grabbin my hand, followed with like 3 more friendly hugs. Now, at this time it was COLD as anything outside real chilly well again, I think he said he had forgot something in his locker so he just ran out real quick and was headed back home. And you could tell because as cold as it was he was out there in just some blue shorts, no socks & flip flops lol And I kid you not again no cameras or people around, and hes not only staying out here giving me his time talking to someone he dosent even know but is shivering while doing so (I kid you not) so finally he was like man I gotta run Im getting cold lol So I said yeah I know man but hey Sean, can I trouble you for a pic real quick? “No trouble” he replied. So I happen to have my digital cam in the car, grabbed it and took one. (yes just one & thought later going down the road man one? I should have taken a cpl but I didn’t want to start to annoy him after the covo and time we just shared. But yeah man, bottom line (under dressed, just got up, in a hurry, freezing out, no one around including cameras, don’t even know me, but still gave me about 20-25 min. of his time) COMPLETE CLASS ACT!!