This is my first blog post and I wanted it to be something that was really meaningful to me. I figured this would be the way to start. I’ve been a huge Redskins fan since I was a little girl. I really got into the game in 2004, when Joe Gibbs came back for a second stint with the team. That was the year the Redskins had the 5th overall pick. They selected a safety out of the University of Miami named Sean Taylor. He was 6’2, 212lbs and hit so hard that he’d knock the snot out of you. I remember being very excited about him because I’d heard so many great things about his play. Once the season started and going forward, he emerged as a force on the defense. He played in his first pro-bowl in 2006. I watched that game smiling as Sean laid a big hit on, former Buffalo Bills punter, Brian Moorman. That hit was heard and saw around the world. The 2007 football season slated to be a great one for Sean. He was known as the hardest hitting safety in the NFL. His presence was felt by offenders, especially wide receivers. Unless they were bold enough, you wouldn’t see teams throwing the deep ball over the the middle. Teams didn’t want to throw to Sean’s side because he’d make a great play or hit the receiver hard. His daughter was also born that year. That was the year he started to turn from a boy into a man. I’m thankful that I was able to see him play in person many times throughout the course of his career with the Redskins. My mom and I stood at the player parking on lot with other fans on game days just to get a glimpse of the players walking in from their cars to the tunnel where they headed to the locker room. Some of the players would even stop to take pictures and sign autographs. Sean was one of those people. He would stop and talk to the fans if he had some time and signed autographs. It was a real pleasure just to say hello and have a great game.
I’d like to recall the last time I saw him. It was November 24, 2007. Saturday. I was out at Redskins Park with my extended Redskins fam. We go to the park for every away game and wave to the buses as they depart to the airport. I know it may sound corny, but we like to send the team off with good vibes. As the cars come in, we wave at them and they wave back at us with smiles on their faces. I remember seeing a Light blue colored Mercedes Benz roll through driving really fast. We waved and the car slowed down a bit to wave back. It was Sean Taylor. He was hurt that week and was ruled out to play in the game, however he wanted to see his teammates before they boarded the buses. After being inside the gate for a bit, here comes his car speeding through the gate and down the street. We waved at Sean again as he left Redskins Park. That Sunday, November 25, 2007, the Redskins lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Tampa Bay, FL. Little did we know what would happen next would change lives forever.
Monday, November 26, 2007 I got a text message saying Sean Taylor had been shot in Miami. “Wait, what? What is he doing in Miami when he’s hurt and we played in Tampa?” I replied back. I said a little prayer in hopes that it wasn’t anything major, but I had a feeling his season would be over at that point. I received a text message telling me to come to Redskins Park at 6 for a candle light vigil. I rushed to the park to find many had gathered with candles. We formed in a large circle as Chief Zee stood in the middle saying a prayer for Sean. Before we departed the Park, we were informed that Sean’s condition was getting better. “Whew! That’s good news to hear. Our prayers reached him all the way in Miami. He felt us”. As I drove off I thought everything would be okay.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007 …. My alarm clock radio came on at 6am. The music went off and the reporter had some breaking news. “Redskins safety, Sean Taylor, has passed”. You can’t be serious!? I didn’t want to start my morning off with that kind of news. Although I didn’t know him personally, I felt sad. I even cried as I sat on the edge of my bed. “Why did they have to bother him? Why did they have to shoot him knowing he had an injury already? WHYYYYYY???” Those were the questions I asked myself. I was hurt. Redskins Nation was very emotional as a whole. Sean was a great player on the field. His presence was felt by many players in the league, but they also respected the way he played the game.
Fast forward to November 2017. It’s been 10 years since Sean’s passing. Each year I recall the memories I have of him on the field and some of the pics I’ve taken of him. I love hearing some of his past team mates share their personal memories and stories they remember about him. He left behind a daughter and a fiancé, both named Jackie. Coaches and teammates will tell you how much change they saw in him, for the better, after his daughter was born. He was always smiling every time his daughter was around. That little girl was his pride and joy. I know they miss him as much as his fans do. He left a great impact on us in the short amount of time that he was with the team. I love how some of the current players in the NFL admire his play, and play as hard as he did. I don’t think we’ll ever see a player who hit as hard as Sean did. He gave his all on each and every play. As I look at video highlights on YouTube I get chills seeing the hits he put on players. You may be gone but we’ll never ever forget you, Sean! #ST21 4 EVER!!!