Three years ago today, Sean Taylor, All Pro Free Safety of the Washington Redskins, passed away from the result of a gunshot wound which occurred during a home invasion. The shot severed Taylor’s femoral artery, and he was unable to recover.
Three years later, Redskins fans, and fans of professional football in general, remember the fierce, competitive, aggressive nature with which “Meast” played the game. His mistakes were definitely noted, both on and off the field… but Sean Taylor probably knew better than anyone what the image being portrayed was. He began a silence with the media, ignoring them, wanting nothing to do with the badgering press and the snakes who work to find a soundbite which could criminalize him… but Sean became more vocal with fans, and played louder and louder every down.
While fans may overrate Taylor a bit (considering he only played 3½ seasons in the NFL), their passion and love for him comes from more than just connecting with a player on their favorite team. Taylor may have missed some tackles or blown some coverage from time to time, but no fan who watched him play the game ever saw him take a down off, or ease up, or hold back. Sean Taylor played every down violently, with complete disregard for the safety of himself and his opponents. Fans also saw him help his teammates up, congratulate them on a good play, and celebrate with them… and when the team was down, he was there to encourage them to keep fighting.
Fans saw a player… a player who was willing to do everything in his power to give the fans a highlight reel, but also do his best to help the team they love and follow before and after his career, win. We don’t know the personal side of a player’s life, we hear when they make the news for a crime, but other than that, we didn’t know Meast personally. However, Redskins fans never turned on him for the troubles, they cheered louder and louder everytime he raised his arms before the snap, entered the field, made a big hit, intercepted a pass…
Fans watched Taylor grow on the field, a result of his personal life, avoiding possible trouble, focusing on the playbook and film… it all paid off. The trouble he got into forced him to mature and do right, and for teammates, they saw a “better friend” and fans saw a better player. Taylor’s final half-season in the NFL was on pace for being one of the better years we’d ever seen out of a defensive player on the Washington Redskins, and nobody can deny that his presence is missed. Taylor spent every game of his pro career as a Washington Redskin… he died a Washington Redskin… he’ll always be a Washington Redskin.
So three years later, we know what we had, what we’ll always miss, and what we will forever call one of ours. Sean, continue to Rest In Peace!