It has been 10 years since the death of Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor. The abrupt ending to the life of the 24-year old still haunts many to this day, Redskins fans and others alike.
Taylor was a two-time NFL Pro Bowler (2006, 2007) and a one-time All-Pro (2007). Through four seasons (with his fourth cut short by his murder), Taylor had accumulated 238 tackles, 61 assists, and 12 interceptions. He was a rising star, then a bullet ended his life.
In a home invasion on November 26th, 2007 at 1:45 AM, Taylor was shot in the upper leg by burglars, severing his femoral artery. He had extensive blood loss and would die on November 27.
Here is the Four Verticals staff’s remembrance of that fateful day:
Olafimihan Oshin (Editor-in-Chief):
I was a 5th grader at Gorman Crossing Elementary. I remember coming back from school and hearing the news that Sean was shot in the leg at his home. My first thought was “He’s going to be ok, might miss the season but he will make it through”.
The next day he didn’t pull through and I was startled and shocked. Sitting on bus ride to school I wanted to cry but I couldn’t, thinking why was his life taken so fast. Even seeing how the media used his death to portray him as a thug made me upset profoundly.
Sean Taylor wasn’t just a great player, he was an amazing human being. The way he carried himself on and off the field and his effort to bring his sides of families to be knit close was special. You never hear a story of Sean being rude to fans, always have time for them and was a #1 teammate for his squad. I hope people will remember Sean not being a great football player, but a human being that was one of a kind.
Kyle Andrews (Senior Editor):
I remember it like it was yesterday. Sean Taylor was one of most talented safeties that I had ever seen at that point. I was 13 and I was fortunate enough to see guys like Troy Polomalu, Bob Sanders, Ed Reed and John Lynch in their prime. None of them were the physical specimen that Taylor was. Taylor had the potential to be the greatest safety of all-time; he was just that good.
Although I’m not a fan of Washington’s football team, I was a huge fan of players that came from Miami. Being from Baltimore, I was able to see Reed and Ray Lewis develop into first-ballot Hall of Fame players. Taylor, also hailing from “The U”, was going to be another.
I saw the love between players from the University of Miami. What struck me was Reed Lewis’ love for their Miami brother in Taylor. They showed him the ropes and they constantly talked him up. They were his greatest advocates. That type of brotherhood is rare.
When he passed away, I dropped down and cried. He was one of my favorite players to play the game and being a middle school student, it greatly affected me. You see one of your heroes die like that and it’s such a stark reminder of how life is so precious. Enjoy the great ones while they’re around.
R.I.P. Sean Taylor. You will always be missed.
Terrance Holman (Staff Writer):
It’s hard to imagine that we’ve gone 10 years with fan favorite Sean Taylor. Back on this day in 2007 I was only 10 and Sean was my favorite player in the league due to his incredible play, he was probably the hardest hitting safety I’d ever seen because I’m too young to remember guys like Ronnie Lott and everything.
I remember some of the big plays he made during the course of his short career like the blocked field goal return to set Nick Novak up for the game winner against Dallas in 2006 then just 3 weeks later coming up so clutch against the Panthers by intercepting a Jake Delhomme pass late in that game. I also remember some crushing hits he’d deliver on opposing players, for example in his only Pro Bowl when he absolutely crushed Brian Moorman.
So you could imagine the pain that myself and other Redskins fans felt early that November morning in 2007 when we found out our beloved ST21 was taken out of this world. I remember getting ready for school that morning and watching ESPN only to have my Redskins world just turned completely upside down, I told my father and we both just broke down in tears. 10 years later the pain is still there and we are all left wondering what could have been with that man.
Continue to rest in peace ST21, you are still very much loved and missed.
Ben Shor (Staff Writer):
It was my senior year of high school. Joe Gibbs 4 years back with the Redskins overlapped my 4 years of high school. Sean Taylor was one of my favorite players, and a big part of making my team fun to watch every week.
I remember hearing a rumor in school that he had been shot. I ran to my car during every break to put on 980 to hear the news updates. I’ll never forget Doc Walker making a comment about Sean’s past and how this wasn’t surprising. I’ll never forget Wilbon going on tv and saying he was a gangster and had it coming. I’ll never forget the racially charged tirade directed at Sean by Colin Cowherd. And as a fan, all I wanted to know was if Sean was okay.
Sean wasn’t okay. His loss blew a hole in this franchise that they’ve yet to recover from. I’ll always remember the way the team rallied around each other to make the playoffs. It was truly special.
Felix Trammel (Staff Writer):
This is was a very exciting day for me. I had been trying to join the Washington Redskins Marching Band. Originally I was told that there wasn’t any spots available for a saxophone. However I kept hanging around and was given the opportunity to join. My first NFL football as a member of the band of my favorite team. I got to walk in the stadium like the players do, go into an adjoining locker room, sit in the stands. The game was a back and forth game where my favorite player on the team got hurt, Sean Taylor.
He was the man and we he went down the defense couldn’t hold off McNabb and the Eagles. As I was standing in the tunnel after the game waiting on the other band members to change and come out, I was just watching the players leave. As I was standing there on my phone, Sean comes limping by. He was as calm as if you were going to the grocery store. I said, “What’s up Sean?” He responded, “Hey man.” I continued, ” Heal up man, we need you back ASAP.” He grinned and said, ” Don’t worry I’ll be back soon.”
He continued on and I fully expected to be watching the future legend for years to come. A week later as I was teaching a class I got a random message saying that Sean Taylor was shot. I looked at it confused like who would shoot Sean? I saw that it was in the leg and I thought, oh he will be fine. Of course that wasn’t the case.
I remember the day when word came that he died. I gave my class an assignment and just sat there stunned. I felt like a family member was taken away from me. Sean Taylor IS a legend in Miami and DC. He will remain the standard of what it means to be a Washington Redskin.
Steve Rowley (Staff Writer):
Ten years ago today, Sean Taylor’s life was cut tragically short. A young man who seems godlike and invincible on the field, was left mortal in my eyes for the first time.
His death was as senseless as it was tragic. His passing created a void that resonated throughout the sports world, effecting players and fans alike.
On a personal note, Taylor’s death hit me especially hard. Sean Taylor and I are the same age. When one of your hero’s, a man who seemed untouchable and damn near invincible falls, what does that mean for us mere mortals? When someone larger that life dies at such a young age, it shocks your system. For the first time, I questioned my own mortality.
Young people in their late teens and early twenties live in a bubble of immortality. They live for the moment and in the moment. They feel untouchable, like they will live forever. Sean Taylor’s death changed all of that for me. With his passing, a small part of my innocence and naivety died as well.
Rest in peace Sean Taylor. A man who was a god on the football field, but more importantly a man and father off of it. Ten years ago the world lost a good one. I’m willing to bet that over the last 10 years, no one’s gone across the middle in heaven.
Sean Michael Maurice Taylor (April 1, 1983 – November 27, 2007). Rest In Paradise