Ten years. It’s hard to believe it has been 10 years since Sean Taylor was murdered.
The early-morning news came after a brief glimmer of hope the previous night that Taylor would survive a home invasion that left him shot in the leg. He essentially bled to death. Doctors could only delay, not prevent his death.
A superstar athlete dead at 24. The best Redskins player in years, suddenly gone.
There are two things I remember most about Taylor. First, he was a missile coming at opponents. That jarring Pro Bowl hit in a “friendly” game where no one tackles hard was just an example of how he would come at runners and receivers.
It’s not easily done. Successor LaRon Landry did it, but missed too often to be as effective as Taylor, who rarely missed. Currently, D.J. Swearinger is the best Redskins safety with that ability since Taylor. It only took 10 years to find him.
Second, Taylor was like Art Monk in not talking to the media much. But, what I greatly appreciated was his courteous denials. Like Monk, he was nice about it. I’ve always said the First Amendment provides the right to say what you want or say nothing. Taylor talked occasionally, using the same soft voice Monk used, and was a thoughtful person.
Taylor could have been one of the greats. We’ll never know. He made the Pro Bowl in his third season with 111 tackles, three forced fumbles and one interception. He seemed on the way to another standout year in 2007 before suffering a knee injury in the ninth game that left him sidelined and in Miami when killed.
Redskins fans have never forgotten the 24-year-old safety, who could have been finishing his career nowadays. More amazingly, so many NFL players talk of Taylor inspiring them, despite only being young teens when he played. His impact is enormous.
So rest in peace, Sean. It was a short life, but memorable.
Rick Snider has covered Washington sports since 1978. Follow him on Twitter @Snide_Remarks.