It's something you want to forget, but take a moment to remember Sean Taylor. The former Reskins safety was a promising young man and a rising star who was painfully snatched from his friends and family two years ago today.
Taylor emerged as the hard hitting face of the Washington Redskins defense, supplanting LaVar Arrington in that role. No one has replaced Taylor
Taylor was allegedly shot and killed in his home by a few degenerates who had taken advantage of his generosity to enter his home to rob him, according to charges brought by the Miami-Dade states attorney's office.
The accused face trial in January 2010.
Taylor was Joe Gibbs' first and best draft choice since returning to coach the Redskins in 2004. Gibbs passed up the chance to take Taylor's Miami Hurricane teammate Kellen Winslow II with the fifth overall pick that year.
No one argued the choice but Winslow himself, who promised to make the Redskins pay for the snub. Joe Gibbs was the offensive coordinator for the San Diego Chargers when Winslow's father, the Kellen Winslow, gave lift to the Air Coryell Downfield Offense.
Young Winslow never made good on the threat on the field. Off the field, however, his rookie contract with the Cleveland Browns fed into Taylor's heartburn about his deal with the Redskins.
Taylor would fire his agents and rehire Drew "Mr. Renegotiate" Rosenhaus, who he earlier dismissed.
Taylor had a rough start to pro football. He worked his way through missed rookie symposiums, late hit fines, trumped up traffic charges, a violent confrontation to recover stolen property and a famous incident where saliva escaped his lips onto Michael Pittman's face.
Balancing the scales were Taylor's big hits which induced fear, uncertainty, and doubt in receivers running anywhere near him.
Taylor snagged a blocked field goal attempt and returned it to the Cowboys 44 yard line to set up Nick Novak's winning field goal. The Skins were helped by a face mask penalty against the Cowboys for grabbing Taylor's face mask.
In 2007, with fans clamoring for the Redskins to boost the defensive line by drafting DE Jamaal Anderson or DT Amobi Okoye, Washington selected LSU safety LaRon Landry to pair him with Taylor.
Only Joe Gibbs had the juice to make such a pick with little more than grumbling by the fanbase. But man, when the season began, we could see what Gibbs envisioned with Taylor and Landry. We could only dream of what was to come.
What did come was something worse. Just as Taylor and pro football were adjusting to each other, he was taken. Tragedy pushed Joe Gibbs and Daniel Snyder to their finest moments.
Gibbs held the team together and guided the players to channel love for Taylor to a playoff appearance in his honor. Snyder's generosity was a text book case of how an owner should respond in the face of death.
The crises took a toll on Gibbs, who thought of what coaching was costing him in family time and eventually left the game. Snyder failed to show the leadership in 2009 that he did in 2007.
Family, team, coaches, owner and fans have all been hurt by Taylor's absence.
We don't know what might have been had Taylor lived, but I am certain of this. There's no damned way Tony Romo completes that pass last Sunday if Sean Taylor were back there.
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