It’s almost been 10 years since the death of Sean Taylor. It’s hard to believe that it’s been that long, and it’s something that football fans like myself still have a hard time fully accepting. Death is certain for everyone, but the way Taylor was taken away is still gut-wrenching, even knowing that the suspects involved in the crime were convicted of murder and in prison because of it.
April 1 will always be a special day for the fans of Taylor. To most, it’s a fitting time to celebrate "April Fools," but it’s a special day because it is the birthday of Taylor. Former Washington Redskins Safety Sean Taylor would have been 33 years old today. If he was alive, he would still be in prime of his career, and he would certainly be on his way to Canton. The death of Taylor still bothers many football fans even nine years after his senseless murder.
In his limited span in the NFL, Taylor captivated many football fans, even fans those such as Kenny Masenda, Justin Tinsley and Joe Boland who rooted against Taylor’s team — the Washington Redskins.
I remember Taylor’s death and funeral services as if they were yesterday. I was a student at the University of Cincinnati, and I remember skipping class to watch his funeral. Some found it odd for me to watch the funeral, but losing one of your football heroes created a feeling of sorrow, knowing that he will never grace the field again. At the time it felt as if I lost a family member or a close friend. To see his former teammates from both college and the NFL say heartening things about him is just a testament to how he was as a person and football player. Even to this day I get chills while listening to Clinton Portis’ tribute to No.21 at his funeral.
While many people were enthralled by Sean Taylor the football player, Sean Taylor the person was becoming equally as impressive as the guy who coerced offenses into mistakes during his career. As Portis mentioned, he was a guy who was at peace with everything around him.
Riddled by off-the-field and on-the-field concerns in the early stages of his career, it was astounding to witness Taylor achieve the peace that he always clamored for. Change is inevitable, and Taylor was a great example of transformation and maturity.
Watching him decapitate wide receivers coming across the middle was amazing to see each and every Sunday, but the stories from his peers were just as impressive.
Taylor’s football legacy may be one of the biggest what-ifs in all of sports. As he was on the rise to become one of the all-time greats, he lost his life prematurely. Today, as we remember him on his birthday, we appreciate what he meant to the game of football. From the hard hits and fearless style of play, there weren’t many who could compare to Taylor at his position.
On this day while others are making "Fools" jokes, my pain will be runnin' deeper than the ocean' while watching Taylor's highlights on YouTube. While his physical presence is no longer here, that doesn’t mean that his presence isn’t felt. Heroes come and go, but in Taylor’s case, legends live forever.
Happy Birthday to Sean Taylor, you’re truly missed.