Commanders get second chance to honor Sean Taylor after jersey retirement controversy

After two straight road games, the Washington Commanders will return home to play the Atlanta Falcons. It’s a huge game in the NFC playoff picture, and it became more meaningful after the team announced it will honor the late Sean Taylor before the game; exactly 15 years to the day of his tragic passing.

Before kickoff at 11:45 am EST, the Commanders will unveil the Sean Taylor Memorial. The franchise will also launch the limited-edition Sean Taylor Legacy Project merchandise, and all Washington players will wear No. 21 decals on their helmets in honor of the former Pro Bowl safety.

The line of merchandise was inspired by Taylor’s daughter, Jackie Taylor, and all proceeds will benefit gun violence prevention initiatives. In another heartwarming touch, Jackie will be introduced as Washington’s honorary captain. Be sure to be in your seats 15 minutes before kickoff to see the ceremony.

Here’s a complete outline of the pregame ceremony.

Commanders to unveil Sean Taylor Memorial on 15th anniversary of Taylor’s passing before Week 12.

“Sean’s life was tragically cut short but his impact continues to reverberate through our Burgundy & Gold family,” co-owners and Dan and Tanya Snyder said via a team press release. “This Sunday, on the 15th anniversary of his passing, we honor one of our greats and his legacy by unveiling a permanent installation, so his memory is always with us when we take the field on game day.”

After botching Taylor’s jersey retirement last season, Washington had little margin for error to nail its second chance to honor the former No. 5 overall pick. While the execution remains to be seen, Sunday’s ceremony has the makings to be incredibly special and meaningful to both Taylor’s loved ones and the fan base.

It’s nothing less than Taylor deserves, which is exactly why the jersey retirement ceremony was so widely scrutinized. Despite playing less than four seasons, Taylor is one of the most iconic players in Washington’s decorated history. He earned his first Pro Bowl selection in 2006, and followed that with another Pro Bowl nod and second-team All-Pro honors in 2007; the season he was tragically killed.

Last season, Taylor joined Bobby Mitchell and Sammy Baugh as the only Washington players to have their jersey numbers retired by the franchise. The former hard-hitting safety was inducted into Washington’s Ring of Fame in 2008, and is a deserving member of the Commanders’ 90 Greatest Players List.

Now, his legacy will be immortalized at FedEx Field.