For some football fans and players sad moments come when the team doesn’t make the playoffs, an undefeated team loses to the underdog, or the team that is knocked out of the playoff race.
With the loss of NFL star Sean Taylor, these moments in football become trivial and are forgotten when the game of football loses one of its own.
An armed intruder in Miami shot Taylor, a safety for the Washington Redskins, in his leg at his Palmetto Bay home.
The critical wound severed his femoral artery causing him to lose massive amounts of blood. Taylor was airlifted to the Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital where he underwent surgery.
After surgery, due to the lost of a significant amount of blood, Taylor remained unconscious and in a coma; suffering brain damage because of the blood loss.
On November 27, Taylor died at the hospital.
This brought an end to his breakout football career for the Redskins, and his athletic feats at the University of Miami and Gulliver Preparatory School became a memory.
Taylor played high school football at Gulliver Preparatory School in Pinecrest, Fla, a suburb of Miami, where he helped Gulliver win the Florida Class 2A State Championship in 2000.
With this high school performance, many schools recruited Taylor but the University of Miami became his college home in 2001.
That year, he was one of just four true freshmen to play for Miami in the 2001 national championship season.
A first-round draft pick to the Washington Redskins in 2004, Taylor was on his way to yet another Pro Bowl in this 2007 season.
Before Taylor’s death on November 27, he held a tie for five interceptions in the NFC with. Taylor also racked up 42 tackles and 1 forced fumble.
Taylor’s loss was felt across the NFL and football players at FAMU. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell plans to honor Taylor’s memory at all games this weekend. Rattler football players are in disbelief.
“This is crazy and very sad,” said senior linebacker Dannel Shepard, 21, a business administration major from Cincinnati, Ohio. “He’s an idol to a lot of people. Players looked up to him off the field and his performance on the field was great, there was never a dull moment watching him play.”
Shepard went on to say that losing a prominent figure in such a violent way confirms that the world is a crazy place.
“Not every one is happy for you, people are jealous,” said Shepard, ” I feel bad for the family, it hits so close to home because I play football and he plays football.”
For some Rattler players, it hit even closer to home.
“I heard he got shot but I was surprised to hear that he died,” says junior linebacker Vernon Wilder, 21, a physical education major who, like Taylor, is from Miami. “Sean Taylor was the best safety ever especially in college, a major contributor to the sport of football and the league. He had so much potential for the game on a professional level and it was taken away so fast before he could maximize on that potential-he impacted the game of football.”
Wilder now has a new meaning to the cliché, “life is short.”
“It hits close to home because he’s young and I’m young, it just showed me that you have to live life to the fullest.”
Taylor’s cousin Anthony Leon is a freshman safety at Florida State University.
He looked up to his older cousin. And, like Taylor, he attended Gulliver Preparatory. Leon was a safety like Taylor and wanted to change the game of football like him. Leon said that Taylor had “gotten his act together” and was destined for greatness.
Just hours after Taylor’s death, Washington Redskins fans had already created a makeshift memorial: “Rest in Paradise, No. 21.”
Sean Taylor was 24.