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    • Doc's Blast from the Past -- Special Edition

      PART I

      For the return of Doc’s Blast from the Past (sorry haven’t been around, between my hand and my sister, just haven’t had the time ), I thought I would tie the Dallas game together with an anniversary this weekend… that of Sean Taylor’s death.

      I know there are some people don’t want to hear about Sean Taylor, but considering he played a major role in a win against Dallas (I was there and I still wish I had the NFL.com screen where they had actually posted a Dallas win… before the field goal was blocked, Sean picked up the ball, was facemasked and we won with a field goal because of a defensive penalty), and this weekend is the ninth anniversary of his tragic death, I thought I would share some of the articles from the GameDay Magazine from the game where he was inducted into the Ring of Fame and the Game Program was a Special Tribute Edition to Sean Taylor.

      Just a short story though about that weekend. At the time I was living in Maryland. I often went down to Redskin Park for sendoffs and welcome homes. That Sunday, the game after Thanksgiving, also was Joe Gibbs’ birthday. There were about 9 of us to welcome the team home in the rain. We were invited up to the building since there were so few to welcome the team home. As always, Coach Gibbs came over, saw his cake which we had brought, and said “it was the best birthday present he received” (we had lost the game). He then proceeded (much to the dismay of the guard, I might add) to invite ALL of us into his office at Redskins park, spoke to each of us individually and gave us an autographed copy of his most recent book. That man to this day is probably one of the most humble men, considering his success, I’ve ever met. Except perhaps my husband <grin>. When he talked to me, he was surprised that I had come as far as I had (I lived near Baltimore) and he recognized that I had been to most of the welcome homes and gave me a hug and thanked me. That’s better than any picture, autograph or whatever I could ever have. I might add that the walls of his office were covered with pictures of his family—emphasizing the importance of family to this man.

      Then we woke up Monday morning to the news of the shooting. By noon I was at Redskins Park helping with the crowd that was gathering to pray for good news. Larry Michaels gave us good news late that evening, that Sean was stable. All of us went home feeling relieved, only to wake up to the awful news that he had died. Again, back to the Park, where people gathered, mainly to be with other Redskin fans during this tragedy. I remember the Chief kneeling on the “21” that was painted in a circle and breaking down, sobbing. It was all surreal.

      There have been other tragedies in the NFL, I am aware of that. But this one just seemed—for lack of a better word—more personal. And the death of a for-sure future hall-of-famer in the way he died is just pure waste.

      Now… onto the Blast From the Past…

      This is in several parts, so please bear with me.

      All of these articles and snippets are from the Redskins Official Game Program from November 30, 2008 (Giants vs. Redskins). “Special Tribute Edition to Sean Taylor”.

      COVER STORY: Sean Taylor

      By: Casey Husband—Redskins GameDay Editor-in-Chief


      Even the atmosphere, with the rain and the mist, suggested something mysterious on the afternoon of Week 17 last year at FedExField.

      The final margin, 21 points, took it even further.

      When the Redskins outplayed Dallas 27-6 in front of a record crowd at FedExField, they set themselves up for a Wild Card playoff matchup in Seattle.

      More than that, Washington won by a magic number—that of slain teammate Sean Taylor.

      It was hard to miss.

      For weeks, the Redskins had been playing inspired football in memory of Taylor, who was murdered in his own South Florida home in late November.

      In their most emotional game of 2007, against their fiercest rivals, the Redskins came up winners in a game that called to mind Taylor’s very jersey number, No. 21.

      That situational coincidence was not lost on Redskins players.

      “You know, it’s strange,” Clinton Portis began. “The strangest things have been happening to us all season—especially to finish the season winning by 21 points against Dallas.”

      Portis continued: “It’s strange because they passed out a picture that Sean signed for a fan earlier, during training camp, that said, ‘We Want Dallas.’ That’s what our fans wanted.”

      Clinton Portis lifted his jersey to reveal a Sean Taylor tribute.

      After Portis scored his second touchdown of the game, he lifted his shirt to reveal a tee-shirt devoted to Taylor. It had three images of his slain friend, with the words ‘Sean Taylor: In Memory of a Fallen Redskin, 1983-2007.”

      Sean Taylor departed this world last November but his presence is still with the Redskins.

      Said Portis: “I’m never going to forget about him. Any time I do something good, there’s always somebody there with me, and that’s ‘Sean T.’ I just want to make sure his memory stays alive.”

      On Dec. 4, one day after the entire Redskins organization traveled to Miami for Taylor’s heart-breaking funeral, the Redskins held a team meeting that, according to London Fletcher, was the start of the Redskins’ playoff run.

      As Santana Moss said late last year: “Since Sean has been gone, I’ve learned so much from him not being here. It makes me appreciate life more.

      “Every time I step on to the field, I do it with me and with Sean. I’m going to do that for the rest of my career.”

      As far as 2008, the Redskins’ roster has been altered somewhat and the coaching staff has a new look now that Jim Zorn has replaced Joe Gibbs. But the organization as a whole retains such strong memories regarding Taylor, who would have turned 25 on April 1 of this year.

      The NFL granted Taylor his Pro Bowl spot and teammates Chris Samuels, Chris Cooley and Ethan Albright donned his No. 21 in Honolulu this past February 10. And Taylor’s locker at Redskins Park has not been altered, except for a glass covering that now preserves it.

      His image endures around the facility, to be certain.

      As best they could, football fans everywhere celebrated Sean Taylor’s life, late in 2007 in the weeks following his horrific death. Such celebratory efforts should, and no doubt will, find their way into 2009 and beyond as well.

      One way to do that, perhaps, is to read and to listen to the thoughts and laments of some of those who were closest to him.

      Taylor is survived by long-time girlfriend Jackie Garcia, his young daughter Jackie, his father Pedro Taylor and his mother Donna Junior.

      At Redskins Park and around the NFL, these were some of the comments to emerge in the immediate aftermath of the death, the tragic death, of a rare NFL talent. They still tell a heart-felt story:

      Redskins owner Daniel M. Snyder: “We really will miss Sean. For Joe [Gibbs] and I, Sean was our first draft pick together, four seasons ago. For me personally and all of us here at Redskins Park, we got to know him so well.

      “Over the last two years I got a chance to really see him grow as a man off the field. He became very important to me, our organization and Coach Gibbs.”

      Redskins head coach Joe Gibbs: “The thing I want to make aware, with Sean, over the last year and a half Sean really matured. To give you a little feeling, he was in every chapel service that I can remember. I think his life and the way he dealt with everybody showed the real maturity.”

      Redskins OR Jason Campbell: “Sean was a dear friend to all of us. We’re alike a family and it’s like we lost a family member. Sean was a great person. I just wish everyone had the opportunity to get a chance to know him because if you just sit down and you talk to Sean one-on-one, he’s a special person.”

      Redskins wide receiver Santana Moss: “He was my modern day Ronnie Lott. Sean was a good guy all around.”

      Redskins running back Clinton Portis: “You think about Sean and you think, he gave it his all. He fought He is going to rest in peace and we are going to keep his memory alive.”

      Redskins linebacker London Fletcher: “From the Sean I know, I see a player and a person who has grown so much. You’ve heard things about Sean being standoffish, but he hadn’t been like that with me at all.”

      Redskins LB Marcus Washington: “The thing I always got a kick out of is when I would introduce Sean to my friends and family after a game. He would be so attentive, so caring.” —Redskins safety Reed Doughty “I talked to Sean right before I left for the [Tampa) game. He just offered a lot of words of encouragement and told me to go play my best I-le always believed in me.”

      Redskins defensive end Andre Carter: “Sean took pride in working hard for this organization and working hard for his teammates.”

      Redskins left guard Pete Kendall: “I got a chance to know Seen a little bit. In fact, he was one of the first guys to say hello and introduce himself to me when I was traded here.

      “The thing that stood out to me about Sean was after our first game here, the home opener against the Dolphins, we were in the player’s parking lot afterwards and I have three young kids and my two boys are big football fans and they were really struck and impressed with Sean Taylor and to actually meet him.

      “Sean actually spent some time [with them). He didn’t just sign a book and send them on their way, but talked to them. As a father, that stood out”

      Eagles head coach Andy Reid: I listened to the respect and remorse that Coach Gibbs and James Thrash had and felt for Sean. These are two people I know and respect greatly.
      “Sean’s passing will have an impact on the Washington Redskins organization and the entire NFL community.”

      Giants (now Saints) tight end Jeremy Shockey: “Fatherhood really changed him. He grew up and matured. That baby (daughter Jackie) had transformed his life. Working out with him during the offseason, I witnessed a change, like night and day.”

      Ravens running back Willis McGehee: “Sean was a great player, but more importantly a special person. Life is precious and you’re reminded of that every day.”

      Browns tight end Kellen Winslow, Jr.: “Seen and I had a special bond. We came in to college together, we left for the NFL the same year and were drafted right next to each other.

      “Sean’s future was taken away from him by a senseless act of violence. I am at a loss for words to describe the pain I feel for Sean and his family.”
      This article was originally published in forum thread: Doc's Blast from the Past -- Special Edition started by Docsandy View original post
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