Football

14 Years Ago, We Lost Sean Taylor

Sean Taylor
Photo from Nick Wass, Lincoln Journal Star

It’s a somber day in the football world as we remember Sean Taylor. On November 27th, 2007, Sean Taylor’s life ended way too soon. He was certainly unconventional at times, but his style of play was not. Taylor was on of the hardest hitters to ever play the game. A true enforcer at safety that some feel is a dying breed.

How It Started

Taylor was a two way player in high school playing running back, safety, and linebacker. His athleticism seemed to know no bounds as he was also a part of the track and field team. Even back then he was known for his tenacious and ferocious style of play. He was recruited to play at Miami and was part of the 2001 National Championship team while continuing to run track. At that point he only played safety and made his presence felt in a big way. His stellar play was rewarded with a first round draft selection. He was one of six Miami players selected in the first round in 2004. Taylor went fifth overall to Washington. While he wasn’t named the starter right away, it didn’t take long for him to become a staple on the Washington defense and make an immediate impact.

Hard Hitting And Playmaking

Sean Taylor played the game like Ronnie Lott and was one of the hardest hitting safeties the NFL has ever seen. Additionally, his sideline to sideline speed allowed him to make critical interceptions when his team needed it most. His most famous play was in the 2006 Pro Bowl when he delivered a crushing blow on punter Brian Moorman while he was attempting a fake punt. You can watch the play here. He finished his career with 262 tackles and 12 picks to go along with eight forced fumbled and two picks.

Shocking Death

On November 26th, 2007, there were some strange noises coming from the Taylor household. Sean Taylor was home with his then fiancee and 18 month old daughter. Five male intruders ranging from ages 16-20 broke into the house in an attempted burglary. Taylor went to see what was going on. He was shot in the lower leg by one of the intruders. He was hit in the femoral artery which is located in the thigh. The artery was severed and as a result, Taylor lost a lot of blood and ultimately passed away the following day. The gunman at the time was 17 years old. All five intruders were either convicted or agreed to plea deals ranging from 18 years in prison, 29 years, 30 years, 57.5 years, and one received a life sentence.

In the first game since his passing back in the 2007 season, the Washington defense ran a play with only 10 men on the field in his honor. Sean Taylor is still held in high regard as one of the best safeties to play the game. Washington recently retired his #21, only the third time in franchise history a player has received that honor. We cannot simply take one or two days out of the year to remember how great he was. Sean Taylor deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. In a statistic and championship obsessed voting criteria, this is one situation where the quality of play is much more important than the quantity.

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