I remember hearing about Sean Taylor in 2001, when he was headed to the University of Miami. I remember hearing he was a hard hitter. And I definitely remember that hit he laid on P.K. Sam from Florida State. I am sure he remembers that too.
I remember watching Taylor play for the Washington Redskins. I remember his motor always being turned up as high as it could go anytime he stepped on the field. I remember seeing him look confused in coverage probably because he was always looking to lay a big hit on someone. I remember watching him deliver those hits on some of the NFL’s best.
I remember watching ESPN on November 26, 2007 and hearing the news about Sean Taylor. I remember changing my profile picture on Facebook to a picture with the number 21 and there was a little candle in the middle of the two numbers and under the numbers were the words “Stay Strong.” I remember praying that Taylor would be ok. I remember the reports saying he had been shot in the leg but had lost a lot of blood. I remember thinking, well he should be ok since he was shot in the leg. I remember praying before I went to bed. And I remember waking up on November 27, 2007, turning on the TV(which was already on ESPN) and hearing the anchor say that “Sean Taylor was dead at the age of 24.”
I remember, I was 26 at the time and I had a hard time wrapping my mind around the fact that a budding NFL star in the making was dead, at the age of 24. I had never met Sean Taylor. I never saw him play in person. I was not a Miami Hurricanes fan and I definitely was not a Washington Redskins fan but I was sad. Sad that a life was taken so young. Sad that a young girl would grow up without her father. Sad that his girlfriend would relive that episode over and over and over in her mind. Sad that a mother and father would have to bury their son. Sad that the media was just now wanting to report on the type of man Sean Taylor had become.
I remember always hearing the saying, “Give me my flowers while I am here.” In the days after Taylor’s death, it seemed that every journalist across the country wanted to give Taylor his “flowers.” Not surprisingly, they gave very few while he was here. His run-ins with the law were very well documented in the years before his death. We all knew about the DUI arrest. We all knew about the aggravated assault arrest. We all knew that the media did not have a very favorable opinion of him. Following his death, we would soon learn was that Taylor was shy, quiet, caring, loving, humble and a great father.
On today, I will remember that five years after his death, the latter Taylor that I described is the one people seem to remember most. He has been trending on Twitter all day. I have seen clips of former teammates and childhood friends who have talked about the wonderful person that he was and how they miss him. I have seen countless pictures of him from his high school days to his days as a Washington Redskin. Today, no one seems to care about who Taylor was in the past. They are choosing to remember the man he was when he was taken away so suddenly. While he may not have gotten many flowers while he was here, I hope he is in a place where he can see the thousands of bouquets that have been left since he passed and know that people remember more of the good than the bad. After all, he was only human, just like us.