A great safety for the Washington Redskins who was cut down in the prime of his career by an act of senseless violence. Sean built a reputation around the league as one of the hardest hitters in the game, and was often featured on the ESPN segment, "Jacked Up." Several of his highlight videos can be found on YouTube. His best known hit was probably on Buffalo Bills' punter Brian Moorman during the 2007 Pro Bowl. Because of his "hard-hitting" style and his reckless abandon on the field (he twice spit on a player during his brief career), Sean developed a sort of cult following of younger NFL fans. After a great 4 years at the University of Miami, most experts agreed he had the potential to become one of the greatest defensive backs in NFL history. Blessed with the size of a middle linebacker and the speed of a cover corner, Sean started to come into his own by his fourth season in the league, and was leading the league in interceptions at the time of his death. Sean was a ball-hawk by nature, and struggled early in his career to stop the run. Due to over-correction, Sean sometimes was caught looking into opponents' backfield and got burned on long pass plays. However, with the addition of rookie safety Laron Landry (a run-stuffer) during the 07-08 season, Sean was free to be the ball-hawk he wanted to be, and the results were encouraging. Fans probably got their best taste of Taylor's unbelievable athleticisim during the 2005-06 season. During the last game of the season against the Philadelphia Eagles, Sean Taylor picked up a fumble and returned it for a touchdown to clinch the game, and a playoff spot for the Redskins. The very next week, in a playoff game against Tampa Bay, Sean again picked up a fumble and returned it to the house for a score that proved to be the difference in a Redskins' win. The next season, in a game against the hated Dallas Cowboys, Taylor returned a blocked field goal deep into Cowboys' territory, setting up a game-winning field goal by Redskins' former kicker Nick Novak. When he first came into the league, he had several problems off the field, and used football as his santuary from these problems. However, when his daughter was born in 2006, teammates and coaches noticed a change in his personality; they said he started to mature and get his life on track. He was planning to marry his daughter's mother after the 2007-08 NFL season was done. Sean was always wary of the media, and rarely granted them interviews, but when he did speak to reporters, he often had a very intelligent observation or point to make. His death was a very brutal one; an intruder broke into his house in Palmetto Bay (a suburb of Miami, FL), Sean got up to lock to door to his bedroom where he, his fiancee, and his daughter were sleeping. The door burst open, and the guman fired two shots; one missed, and one hit Sean in his upper leg, severely damaging his femoral artery. He was airlifted to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, and emergency surgery was performed. Sean showed encouraging signs, including squeezing a nurse's hand. However, he never fully regained consciousness, and he had lost way too much blood; he passed away on the morning of November 27, 2007. Sean once said he was born to play football; it was what God created him to do. He was a great player, teammate, son, and father, and he will be missed sorely by the Washington Redskins, their fans, and the whole NFL.
R.I.P. Sean Taylor #21 -- you left too soon.