November 26, 2007 Sean Taylor was shot inside his Miami home. Protecting his family from a home intruder who didn't think Sean was home. Sean was home because of an injury. November 27, 2007 Sean Taylor died from the gunshot wound that sliced open the femoral artery in his leg causing him to lose a large amount of blood. Sean was just 24 years old. He was survived by his 18 month old daughter(who is now 6) & his High School sweetheart Jackie Garcia. The NFL world was rocked by this horrible tragedy. 5 years later the Washington Redskins are still feeling the effects of his untimely death.
I didn't know Sean Taylor personnaly so I can't begin to imagine what the impact his death had on his friends & family. I'm just a Redskins fan, a life-long Redskins fan, but the effect his death has had on my favorite NFL team is still significant. Drafted in the first round of the 2004 NFL Draft, 5th overall, Sean was the first draft pick of Joe Gibbs' second tenure as head coach. Sean was the leader of the Skins D. He was the heart & soul of a pretty good defensive unit. Sean was one of the most feared safeties in the NFL. He was a first alternate to the Pro Bowl after his rookie year. In 2006 Sean led the Skins in tackles & was voted to the Pro Bowl where he had one of the most memorable hits when he layed out Bills punter Brian Moorman trying to run a fake punt. Sean would have none of that & completely crushed Brian. That's how Sean played though. Full speed all the time. He was a heat seeking missle flying in from his free safety position. My nickname for him was PlayOver because when Sean entered the play, it was over!!
In 2007 Sean was developing into a complete player rather than one who got by on just talent alone. At the time of his death he was leading the NFL in interceptions with 5 despite missing 2 games because of his knee injury. He was voted to the 2007 Pro Bowl posthumously becoming the first NFL player voted in that way. The first play for the Skins D following his death, as well as for the NFC D in the Pro Bowl, featured only 10 players on the field. Leaving Sean's position empty. I thought it was a very nice gesture.
The Redskins are still trying to fill that void. Washington has fielded a number of players at Sean's old free safety position but to no avail. This season Washington's secondary is one of the worst secondarys in the NFL. There was only one Sean Taylor. He cannot be replaced, duplicated, or copied. He was on his way to revolutionizing the safety position in my opinion. At 6'2" & 212 pounds he was the perfect mix of size, speed, instincts, & fearlessness. He could cover the field side line to side line like very few could. He was also big enough to deliver some very nasty hits & he possessed soft hands to catch the football. A very unique player indeed. I think he would have been a Hall of Fame player. I truly believe that. We will never know though. All we are left with is: What coulda been...