Sean Taylor had a lot of success in football from high school to his NFL career. Though his career in the league was cut short, he made a name for himself while he played. Taylor would have been 37 on this day.
His life was taken away from him at the age of 24. Only playing in the NFL for four years, Taylor played in every game during his football career.
Taylor’s NFL career
The Washington Redskins drafted Sean Taylor in the 2004 NFL Draft. He was the No. 5 overall pick in the draft. After a successful career at the University of Miami (FL), Taylor looked to carry that success to the NFL, and he did.
The Redskins signed Taylor to a six-year, $18.5 million contract in 2004. He became the first top 10 pick to sign his contract that year. He would finish his rookie season with 76 combined tackles (60 solo), nine pass deflections, four interceptions, two forced fumbles, and a sack.
The next season, Taylor’s numbers were similar, and he also played and started in his first career playoff game. In an NFC Wildcard game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Taylor seven combined tackles and returned a fumble recovery for a 51-yard touchdown in the first quarter. The Redskins defeated the Buccaneers 17-10, and Taylor got ejected in the third quarter for spitting in Buccaneers’ running back Michael Pittman’s face. Taylor was later fined $17,000 for the incident. The Redskins lost in the next round of the playoffs to the Seattle Seahawks 20-10.
In his third season playing with the Redskins, his performance on the field was recognized across the league and he was named a first alternate to the NFC’s 2007 Pro Bowl team. That season he finished with 111 combined tackles (86 solo and 25 assisted) and had three forced fumbles. All were career highs for Taylor.
Taylor’s tragic death
Nine games into the 2007 season, Taylor’s house was broken into. On November 26, Taylor heard a noise in his home and went to see what was going on. One of the intruders shot Taylor in the upper leg. Taylor’s fiancée and 18-month daughter were also in the house but were not injured.
Taylor had a massive amount of blood loss through a severed femoral artery and died on November 27. His loss was felt all across the country. Four men were charged with felony second-degree murder, armed burglary, and home invasion robbery with a firearm. In May of 2008, a fifth suspect was charged with first-degree murder and burglary. All the murder charges were increased to first-degree murder.
Remembering Sean Taylor
During the 2007 season, the NFL honored Taylor’s death by placing a No. 21 decal on the back of all the players’ helmets during all Week 13 games. A moment of silence was also held before each game during that week.
Taylor was voted to the starting free safety for the NFC team for the 2008 Pro Bowl and was voted second-team All-Pro. The Redskins had the number 21 painted on the field, in the parking lot, and the Redskins Ring of Fame.
Taylor was on his way to have a successful career in the league. He was one of the best safety’s in the game during his four-year career.