Washington Redskins

Regarding Sean Taylor: I Have My Answer

It’s been 60+ hours since word came that Sean Taylor had passed.  When I first heard of the shooting, I did not think of death as the eventual outcome.  When news trickled out about the severity of the injury, I was surprised.  Soon, Sean Taylor was lost.There are many questions surrounding the death of Sean Taylor, and there will be many questions for quite some time.  Most have to do with his character; all regard his past.  Those who are openly blunt surmise that while unfortunate, the attack was inevitable.  Others don’t want to acknowledge that line of thought, especially when it comes down to a 24-year old father.  

I do not wish to speculate on such matters.  There is little chance of knowing what was really going on Sean Taylor’s life, and no chance at all to know what was going on inside his head and inside his heart.  Besides, who am I to ruminate over another man’s personal affairs?  

I can’t say I’ve let myself consider the tragedy much up until now.  I do what we all do now when our curiosity is piqued:  I punched up the offending phenomena on YouTube.  

We all know that Sean Taylor was a great, and at times, dominating safety.  He was as feared a hitter as any in the game (if you don’t believe me, just ask Terrell Owens), and he had a penchant for intervening with the intended path of a quarterback’s pass.  

A mere reputation does not do Sean Taylor the football player justice.  Not many safeties have his range and athleticism, and none also have the ability to deliver such a punishing blow.  Taylor looked like a linebacker, ran like a running back and covered like a corner.  

But it wasn’t his physical gifts that made him special.  Sean Taylor could play better football at high-speed than anyone else on the field could.  Taylor always went all out in pursuit, often launching himself – in the legal sense – at the ball carrier or receiver.  Generally, this is considered to be an un-sound practice.  You will miss as often as you hit, especially when your target is moving at an accelerated pace in avoidance of you.  

Taylor had a knack for making this type of tackle.  He would find a way to stop the ball carrier or break up the pass.  His long arms managed to grab a hold of something and drag you down with a great deal of force.  Yes, I did say, “drag you down with a great deal of force.”  Watch the highlights.  

Other times it was his excellent closing burst that made the difference.  Or his impeccable timing.  Whatever it was, Sean Taylor was at his best when the pace of play was at its peak.  He was in control of the situation because his body allowed him more flexibility, more options than yours did.  And I don’t think that can be said for any other safety today.  

For precisely that reason, I will miss Sean Taylor.  As sports fans, I think that is why we should all miss Sean Taylor.  

Unless we are unabashed supporters of the Redskins, or the Hurricanes, we aren’t likely to have much of an emotional connection to Sean Taylor.  He was no more and no less than #21 for the Washington Redskins.  Just another mercenary in a business comprised solely of hired hands.  

But we are sports fans.  We appreciate the games people play.  Ralph Wiley once wrote, “The games belong to those who play them well.”  Sean Taylor played football very, very well.  The game belonged to him.  He was a difference maker in every sense on the football field.  He could do things that no one else could do and make plays that no one else could make.

Starting Sunday, there will be one less impact player on the football field.  One less guy that needs to be accounted for.  One less chance to see something we’ve never seen done.  One less chance for even the most grizzled and weathered fan to be awed and surprised, to feel that rush of adrenaline we all get when we witness something beyond spectacular.  

It’s true that maybe Sean Taylor did not earn your mourning.  It’s up to your own conscience whether you will grieve over his loss.  You are the only one who gets to cast judgment on that decision.  

But as a sports fan, you should miss Sean Taylor.  He’s earned that much.  

And that is something that no one can question.  

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