Thanksgiving day marks the first anniversary of the passing of former Miami Hurricane and Washington Redskins player, Sean Taylor.
Known as one of the hardest hitting safeties to ever play football, Sean’s life was cut short by a senseless act.
Three assailants entered Taylor’s home, intending to rob him. In the wee hours of that sullen Sunday night, Taylor was fatally shot in his right leg.
Losing too much blood, he died early Monday morning on November 27, 2007 in a Miami area hospital, with his beloved family surrounding him.
Sean was an extraordinary athlete, but was misunderstood for most of his tenure in the NFL.
Many in the media circle dismissed Sean because he kept to himself, rarely speaking to reporters after games.
Even in Washington DC, where he played for the hometown heroes, the Washington Redskins, his reputation was built on the feeling that Sean thought he was above everyone.
It turns out, that couldn’t have been further from the truth.
“The thing about football is that it’s like breathing to me. There’s nothing else I can do with my life. It’s who I am.”
He wasn't a loud, gregarious type of player; Taylor preferred to let his play do the talking.
Nicknamed the “Meast,” which stood for half-man half-beast, Taylor’s ferocious hits were heard from sideline to sideline.
In four seasons at free safety, Taylor recorded 299 tackles, 12 interceptions and 8 forced fumbles. He earned the respect of his teammates by always going about his business.
For Sean, team football was paramount. The players around him were better because he set the bar higher with each vicious tackle he made.
I had the pleasure to be two rows from the field in the first game after S.T.’s death.
My future husband had surprised me with these fabulous seats, as he had never been to a game in person.
There we were, humbled by what our eyes were trying to take in, acknowledging the bittersweet moment it was going to be, when the announcer signals for us, to wave our souvenir “21” towels.
FEDEX Field was of course filled to capacity on that cold, December afternoon.
Fans held hands and cried, as they watched a video tribute to Taylor’s shortened Redskin career.
I wear his jersey more often now on game day, because it’s him who deserves the recognition.
As I gather with my family for our traditional Thanksgiving Day feast, it will be impossible not to remember the day I shared the memory of a Redskins legend with the people who bleed burgundy and gold, just like I do.
Rest in peace No. 21. We love you.