When I first heard the news of Sean Taylor, I was 13 years old. My mind had not yet been indulged into the world of football nor had I peaked an interest in it so my relationship with the sport had not yet developed. My best friend held tears back as he shared the news of a Legend who was taken too soon. A 24 year old young man who spent some of the final moments of his life defending his family. I sat in silence as I abosrbed the atrocity.
Many seasons had to change before I would grasp an understanding on football and my best friend played his part as he began to take me to watch some local talent at the Universiy of Miami. As my cognition began to coordinate with the game we all love, the undigested news of a former hometown hero began to finally settle. When it happened I had no idea, but 10 years later, at 23, when I say R.I.P to Sean Taylor, I now say it with the full knowlegde of what the world lost the day he was taken from us.
This is the original Miami Herald account of the shooting and the hunt for the killers;
Miami-Dade detectives looking for the mysterious intruder who shot football star Sean Taylor now say they are hunting a killer.
After clinging to life nearly 24 hours, the Washington Redskins Pro Bowl safety succumbed to a bullet wound to the leg about 3:30 a.m. Tuesday at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami. Shot Monday morning at his Palmetto Bay home — just feet from his baby daughter — he died before he could speak to detectives. They are treating his death as a homicide.
Taylor was a God among men in his own right but remained human. It doesn’t take too much research or highlight reels to comprehend the revolutionary impact (literally) the hard hitting safety held alongside his swagger. His career began in highschool at Miami’s Gulliver Prepatory School. Taylor led the team to the 2000 Florida State 2A Championship. Rushing for 1,300 yards and scoring a state record 44 touchdowns, while making more than 100 tackles on defense. Gulliver finished with a 14-1 record, losing only in the one game taylor did not play in. He also played basketball & ran track, winning the State 2A 100-meter dash as a senior. Upon graduation, Sean Taylor continued to respesent South Florida as he became 1 of 4 True Freshman playing with the Hurricanes as they claimed their 5th national Champonship ( Special Teams; 26 tackles, 20 Solo). When 2002 came around, Taylor started & replaced All-American Ed Reed as he made his way into the big leagues. It didn’t take long for people to realize he was the real deal. Finishing his Sophomore year with 87 tackles (53 solo), 4 interceptions returned for 122 yards, & a 78 yard punt return for a touchdown, Sean was preparing the football world for his breakout year. As a Junios in 2003, Sean led the NATION with 10 interceptions. He finished 3rd on the team with 77 tackles (57 solo), named Big East Defensive Player of the Year, & named a consesus All-American. “His 306 interception return yards and his 3 touchdowns on interceptions returned, are both second all-time at Miami behind only Ed Reed (389 yards and 4 TD’s). Sean is fifth all-time with 14 career interceptions, and his streak of interceptions in four consecutive games is second-longest in Canes history. Taylor was also a member of the track team at UM.” (UM Sports Hall Of Fame; Inducted 2015)
The Washington Redskins would be next to be graced by Sean Taylor in the 2004 NFL Draft. Selected 5th overall in the 1st round, Taylor was 1 of 6 Hurricanes chosen setting another record for the University of Miami. He would spend the next 4 years of his career setting the stage as Sports Illustrateds proclaimed “Hardest Hitter in the League”.
NFL; Washington Redskins
When the news came about his death, it was tough to swallow for fans everywhere. He was a recent Pro-Bowler leading the NFL in interceptions at the young age of 24. His passing shook the world to its core as it began to realize we would not see his potential unfold over time after an already succesful career that was still in its infacy. Taylor’s Father, Pedro Taylor, spoke on behalf of the family with the following statement;
“It is with deep regret that a young man had to come to his end so soon. Many of his fans loved him because of the way he played football. Many of his opponents feared him, the way he approached the game. Others misunderstood him, many appreciated him and his family loved him. I can only hope and pray that Sean’s life was not in vain, that it might touch others in a special way.”
It is unknown where Sean Taylor would’ve landed after years of revolutionizing the sport, but it is clear where he was heading. For the small moment in time, the world was able to live among a man that defied the logistics of being a beast & a human while still managing to perform at a Godly level. What I didn’t know a decade ago has now become a staple in the cortex of my memory as the imprint of Sean taylor burns forever in our hearts. R.I.P Champ.