The death of a sports star can feel worse when the athlete is still in their prime. In NFL history, numerous active players have died. Two examples: Chiefs sack specialist Derrick Thomas, who died of a blot clot in 2000, and Bengals receiver Chris Henry, who passed away in a car accident in 2009. One of the most tragic NFL deaths involves Sean Taylor, who died during a home invasion.
Unfortunately, the Redskins safety’s unexpected passing led to serious financial problems for his surviving family. Let’s look at Taylor’s NFL career, his tragic death, and what happened to his money after he was gone.
Sean Taylor’s NFL career
Taylor played three years at the University of Miami before declaring for the 2004 NFL draft. The Redskins took him with the No. 5 overall pick due to his combination of strength, speed, and solid instincts. Washington wasted no time before signing him to a six-year contract worth as much as $40 million with bonuses.
Taylor came off the bench during his first two games before becoming a starter in Week 3. In his rookie season, he totaled 78 combined tackles, while intercepting four passes for 85 yards. Those impressive numbers dipped a bit in his second year, when he racked up 72 combined tackles.
During his third season, Taylor took a huge leap, totaling 114 combined tackles and forcing three fumbles. This performance was good enough to earn Taylor his first Pro Bowl selection. It also established him as one of the most ferocious and hard-hitting players in the NFL. Most analysts agreed Taylor was only just beginning to tap into his true potential.
Sean Taylor’s tragic death
Sadly, Taylor never finished developing his gifts. He played nine games in the 2007 season before meeting his unexpected end. On November 26, Taylor heard unusual noises in his house. He’d been burglarized only eight days earlier. This time, he was quick to confront his intruder.
During the course of the confrontation, the intruder shot Taylor in his leg. The bullet severed Taylor’s femoral artery — one of the most important arteries in the leg — leading to massive amounts of blood loss. He was rushed to a hospital, where doctors attempted to reverse the damage over the course of several hours of surgery.
Ultimately, they were not able to save Taylor’s life. He died the next day, November 27, never regaining consciousness.
Taylor’s family faces financial trouble
Taylor had already amassed a significant amount of wealth by the time of his unexpected death. According to Gossip Gist, his net world was approximately $30 million. However, his estate came to only about $5.8 million. Throughout his career, Taylor had spent money liberally in order to support his mother and other family members.
Yet Taylor had never formally drawn up a will, which meant the vast bulk of his estate went to his then-three-year-old daughter Jackie. Taylor’s father received $328,000 via a joint account he shared with his son. Taylor’s sister also received $650,000 in proceeds from his life insurance policy.
Taylor’s mother, however, received nothing — not even any sports memorabilia that she could sell. As a result, she found herself without enough money to pay the taxes on the house she bought in 2005 with money from Taylor. To make matters worse, none of the other family members stepped up to share their newfound wealth with her. A family feud ensued, and the ill-will is likely still felt today.