Sean Taylor may have played just four NFL seasons, but he managed to make an incredible impact during his brief career. A star for the then-Washington Redskins, Taylor’s bone-crunching hits and nose for the ball made him one of the most electrifying safeties the NFL has ever seen. However, his tragic death in 2007 robbed the world of a truly special football player and person. Now, Taylor will never be forgotten thanks to the Washington Football Team honoring the franchise icon in a unique way.
Sean Taylor became a superstar in Washington
Following a standout career at the University of Miami, Sean Taylor got selected fifth overall by the Washington NFL franchise in the 2004 NFL draft. At 6-foot-2, 231 pounds, he boasted linebacker size. His blazing speed and sticky coverage skills also allowed Taylor to cover receivers and tight ends like a top-flight cornerback.
As a rookie, he displayed the dynamic ability that made him a Hurricanes legend. Taylor racked up 78 tackles, four interceptions, 15 passes defended, two forced fumbles, and one sack in his first NFL season. After another solid campaign, he took his game to another level in his third year in the league.
In his age-23 season, the hard-hitting safety recorded 114 tackles and earned his first Pro Bowl berth. Having clearly arrived as an NFL star, Taylor entered the 2007 season as a legitimate Defensive Player of the Year candidate. Only nobody knew that his NFL career and life would end just months later.
Taylor’s tragic death shocked the NFL community
Sean Taylor started the 2007 season on a tear. He picked off five passes in just nine games. At 24 years old, he had just begun to scratch the surface of his potential. Many expected Taylor to earn a bust in Canton by the time his NFL career came to a close. However, we never got a chance to see Taylor’s ultimate ceiling.
On November 26, intruders entered Taylor’s home in Miami. The NFL star got shot in the upper leg, which resulted in extensive blood loss due to a severed femoral artery. Taylor died the following day roughly five months before his 25th birthday.
His tragic death shocked the football community. After all, it seemed unbelievable that one of the NFL’s brightest young stars could go from tackling Tampa Bay Buccaneers players to dying just two days later. In the aftermath of his death, the NFL placed the No. 21 decal (Taylor’s jersey number) on the back of all players’ helmets during Week 13.
Taylor also earned a posthumous Pro Bowl selection. As a sign of respect, the NFC squad took the field with only 10 players on their first defensive play.
Washington Football Team honors the franchise legend in unique way
As an organization, the Washington Football Team has paid its respects to Sean Taylor in a few different ways. Like the NFC Pro Bowl squad, Washington’s defense took the field with only 10 players in the first game following Taylor’s death. He also got inducted posthumously into the Washington Redskins Ring of Fame in November 2008.
More than a decade later, the Washington NFL franchise just found another way to honor the legendary safety. On Tuesday, the team announced on Twitter that it will honor both Taylor and former head coach Joe Gibbs in a permanent fashion. A main road leading to FedEx Field will now be called Sean Taylor Road. The team will also change its headquarters address to Coach Gibbs Drive.
Considering all the controversies surrounding the historic NFL franchise, this move represents a rare piece of positive news. For Sean Taylor fans, this permanent way of honoring the former NFL star should serve as an eternal reminder about the impact he made in such a short time on Earth.
He may be gone, but he will never be forgotten.
All statistics courtesy of Pro Football Reference.