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  1. #1
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    Default 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 . 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.”
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  2. #2
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    Default Doc's Blast from the Past -- Special Edition Part II


    SPECIAL FEATURE: Sean Taylor

    By: Gary Fitzgerald, Redskins GameDay Managing Editor

    The following is a story presented on Redskins.com last Nov. 27. It discusses Sean Taylor’s talents, largely unrealized as we now know, as a football player.

    Sean Taylor showed tremendous growth as a father, a husband-to-be and a man, as every coach, teammate and friend attested this week.

    His career of choice was football player, though.

    And, in one of the saddest moments of Tuesday’s press conference at Redskins Park, head coach Joe Gibbs talked about Taylor’s unlimited potential as a football player.

    Taylor, as all football fans are aware, passed away on Tuesday morning in Miami from a gunshot wound.

    “I think Sean felt like God made him to play football,” Gibbs said. “When our guys don’t like to go to practice. it’s usually freezing cold out there; real muddy, and miserable. But I can remember Sean out there flying around, throwing his body around, leaving his feet, going after things.

    “I think Sean was one of those guys that felt football is where he belongs. He had athletic arrogance about that. So for me, the things I remember is his excitement about playing and his love of competition.

    “He was always talking to me about things like playing wide receiver—which we did put him over there even though the defensive coaches didn’t want it. He loved and thrived on the competition part of the game.

    Taylor was a legend on the football fields in South Florida, where he showed physical prowess at an early age.

    Taylor is a product of Gulliver Academy in Miami. He helped lead his school to the Florida Class 2A State Championship as a senior in 2000, seeing time at running back, defensive back and linebacker. He rushed for 1,300 yards and a state-record 44 touchdowns on offense while tallying more than 100 tackles on defense.

    He went to the University of Miami, where he played three seasons as a free safety and recorded 14 interceptions. 188 tackles, one sack and two blocked punts.

    In 2003, Taylor was a unanimous All-America first-team selection and finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award, given annually to the nation’s top defensive back. He was named first-team All-Big East Conference as well as Defensive Player of the Year.

    The Redskins took notice, and drafted him in the first round (fifth overall) of the 2004 NFL Draft.

    The press release the Redskins issued after drafting Taylor stated the following: “Touted as one of the most sought after players in this year’s draft, Taylor brings a tremendous combination of size, speed and strength to the Redskins defense, as well as his well-documented abilities as a playmaker and intimidator in the secondary.”

    Taylor lived up to that billing in four seasons with the Redskins.

    He started almost immediately on the Redskins defense, earning respect for his hard-hitting play.

    As a rookie, Taylor played in 15 games, with 13 starts, and recorded 89 tackles, second-best on the team. He had one sack and four interceptions.

    He finished fourth in Defensive Rookie of the Year voting and was named a first alternate to the Pro Bowl.

    Taylor earned his first and only Pro Bowl bid after the 2006 season in which he logged a team-high 129 tackles (89 solo), one interception and three forced fumbles.

    This season, Taylor has played free safety opposite promising rookie LaRon Landry and led the team with five interceptions. He was sixth on the team in tackles with 46 (34 solo). He also had one forced fumble and eight passes defended.

    For his career, Taylor has 344 tackles (245 solo), 12 interceptions, 41 passes defended and four forced fumbles.

    “The sky was the limit for Sean,” Gibbs said. “From what [assistant head coach-defense) Gregg Williams and the defensive coaches were telling me, he was here late at night studying film, which is one of the things a lot of guys don’t like to do.

    “He had completely changed. He made up his mind to be a vegetarian, he was losing weight, and actually that scared me a little bit because he was getting so thin. But he told me, ‘This is the best thing for me.’”

    “What got cut short here was a career that would include a lot of Pro Bowls and a lot of fun. That’s what we’re going to miss.”
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  3. #3
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    Default Doc's Blast from the Past -- Special Edition Part III


    PLAYER PROFILE: Sean Taylor

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

    The following is a story presented on Redskins.com last Nov. 27, a Tuesday. as the news concerning Sean Taylor’s death was first circulating and as Redskins fans everywhere were first beginning to hold commemorative events in his name.

    It’s basically accurate to say that your first impressions of a person can speak a great deal. In the case of Sean Taylor, though, that’s not the case.

    Initially, Taylor seemed aloof, distant and wholeheartedly unapproachable. He was basically famous, or infamous, for not trusting those who were new to him.

    Once you penetrated some of that, though, Taylor’s personality found a way to shine through.

    Most Redskins fans got to know Taylor from afar. As evidenced by the 30 fans holding a prayer vigil outside Redskins Park on Monday evening, they had hoped that they would get to know more of him in the future. Unfortunately, tragically, Taylor passed away early Tuesday morning at a hospital in Miami. He was hospitalized after he was shot at his home in Miami early Monday morning.

    In his fourth year in the NFL. the 24-year-old gifted athlete out of South Florida had begun to open up. Teammates said he had matured due to new family responsibilities. He was engaged to be married to his girlfriend Jackie and he had a 1-year-old daughter, also named Jackie, born to his girlfriend in May 2006.

    Coaches say his first Pro Bowl also changed him a great deal, making him more of a committed professional.

    1 just take this job very seriously,” Taylor said in a rare interview last training camp. “It’s almost like you play a kid’s game for a king’s ransom.

    “And if you don’t take it serious enough, eventually one day you’re going to say, ‘Oh, I could have done this, I could have done that.’

    “So I just say, ‘I’m healthy right now, I’m going into my fourth year, and why not do the best that I can?”‘

    One personal anecdote: Whenever I travel with the Redskins for an away game, the first thing I do upon arriving at the team hotel is to put on a pair of sneakers and head out for a walk.

    This year, Sean Taylor accompanied me on occasion. And on those walks he liked to talk about things other than football.

    I found him to be a young man with a great deal of interests about life and the world around him.

    That may not be something you discern when you first meet him. What I’m suggesting here is that there was a side of his personality that was really refreshing and it was something other than Sean Taylor, Pro Bowl safety.

    He had more than his share of trouble in the past, some of it his own doing. For all of that, Sean Taylor did seem to be a changed person this year.

    That’s how he should be remembered by Redskins fans.
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    Default Doc's Blast from the Past -- Special Edition Part IV


    SPECIAL FEATURE: Sean Taylor

    NO. 21 BECOMES NO. 43


    The late Sean Taylor will take his place among Redskins greats when he is inducted into the franchise’s Ring of Fame in a ceremony prior to tonight’s game against the New York Giants at FedExField.

    Tonight is the first game following the one-year anniversary of Taylor’s tragic death at the age of 24, which occurred on Nov. 27 of last year in Miami.

    “It’s appropriate that Sean joins our Ring of Fame after a stellar career cut short far too soon,” said Redskins owner Daniel M. Snyder. “His life touched so many of us in such deep and lasting ways. His presence is all around us, in our organization and among our fans.

    Executive Vice President of Football Operations Vinny Cerrato added, “Sean was developing into one of the best to ever play the safety position, as well as becoming a role model to those who knew him. He still touches us every day in some way on and off the field.”

    Taylor is the 43rd member admitted into the Ring of Fame, which honors those who have made distinguished contributions to the team. He is the first since Gary Clark entered on Oct 7, 2007.

    Tonight’s ceremony includes a tribute and messages from former teammates as well as the presentation of a commemorative plaque to members of Taylor’s family.

    Taylor was one of the most unique and dynamic athletes the game has seen. Despite playing less than four NFL seasons. he was a two-time Pro Bowl selection.

    The Redskins made him the fifth pick of the 2004 NFL Draft following his All-America career at the University of Miami.

    This evening, No. 21 becomes No. 43 in terms of Redskins Ring of Fame members.

    43 Members of the Redskins’ Ring of Fame
    (Doc’s Note: This is as of November 30, 2006)

    George Allen
    Cliff Battles
    Sammy Baugh
    Gene Brito
    Larry Brown
    Dave Butz
    Gary Clark
    Jack Kent Cooke
    Wayne Curry
    Bill Dudley
    Pat Fischer
    Joe Gibbs
    Darrell Green
    Russ Grimm
    Chris Hanburger
    Ken Harvey
    Len Nauss
    Phil Hochberg
    Ken Houston
    Sam Huff
    Joe Jacoby
    Dick James
    Sonny Jurgensen
    Charlie Justice
    Billy Kilmer
    Eddie LeBaron
    Vince Lombardi
    Dexter Manley
    Charles Mann
    George Preston Marshall
    Wayne Millner
    Bobby Mitchell
    Art Monk
    Mark Moseley
    Brig Chevens
    Vince Promuto
    John Riggins
    Jerry Smith
    Charley Taylor
    Sean Taylor
    Joe Theismann
    Bubba Tyer
    Doug Williams

    GAMEDAY MAGAZINE, November 30, 2006

    —When the Redskins drafted Sean Taylor with the fifth overall pick in the 2004 NFL Draft, they envisioned the former Miami Hurricane as an intimidating force in their defense. Taylor certainly lived up to that characterization.

    —Sean Taylor was leading the NFL in interceptions early in the 2007 season. Taylor picked off Eli Manning on Week 3 as Manning sought out Plaxico Burress. At Green Bay on Week 6, Taylor picked off Brett Favre twice.

    —Gregg Williams always told his defensive players: “Make sure that if Sean gets a pick, you get back and block for him.” Williams said Taylor was the best player he’d ever coached.

    —Donovan McNabb and many NFL quarterbacks learned quickly that Sean Taylor always had to be accounted for: Taylor had his first career TD after recovering a fumble and diving into the end zone in Philadelphia on New Year’s Day of 2006.

    —London Fletcher put it this way in 2007: “You hear tings about Sean being standoffish. But he hasn’t been like that at all.” Added Fletcher: “I see a player and a person who has grown so much.”

    —Equipment manager Brad Berlin recalls that Sean Taylor came to the Redskins at a time (2004) when Fred Smoot was wearing No. 21. “Then after Fred went to Minnesota, Sean wanted No. 21. He never really explained why,” Berlin noted.

    —DALLAS WEEK SNIPPET: Sean Taylor was right on the spot after Troy Vincent blocked Mike Vanderjagt’s field goal try in 2006. That set up Nick Novak’s winning field goal from 47 yards out. Redskins 22, Dallas 19.

    —Sean Taylor was fast enough to contend with some of the game’s top wide receivers. Taylor stopped Anquan Boldin of the Cardinals on Week 7 at FedExField last year.

    —In the 2005 opener, Sean Taylor and Walt Harris combined to defend Chicago’s Justin Gage in a game the Redskins won 9-7. Taylor’s ability to range from sideline to sideline was exceptional.

    —“You think about Sean, and you think, he gave it his all. He fought,” said Clinton Portis.

    —“Sean took pride in working hard for this organization and for his teammates,” said Andre Carter.

    —In 2005 at St. Louis, Sean Taylor came hard on a blitz and corralled Rams quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. The Redskins won 24-9 and began a six-game winning streak.

    —During his four years with the Redskins, Sean Taylor was responsible for any number of game-changing plays, including a turnover recovery in San Francisco.
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    Default Doc's Blast from the Past -- Special Edition Part V

    PART V

    SPECIAL FEATURE: Sean Taylor

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

    Editor's note: The following is a story presented on Redskins.com last Dec. 2, in the aftermath of Sean Taylor's tragic death. It speaks of his finest games as a Redskin player

    It was a disheartening week at Redskins Park as the team and fans deal with the tragic loss of Sean Taylor.

    And yet, when it becomes appropriate, there will be occasion to celebrate Sean Taylor's life and his career as a star athlete in the Nation's Capital.

    When that time comes, we can Say that during his four seasons with the Redskins, Taylor produced any number of big hits and key interceptions.

    Who can forget when he picked up the blocked field goal try and rumbled 46 yards to set up the game-winning field goal in the stunning 22.19 win over Dallas last year at FedExField?

    Or his two interceptions this year against Brett Favre at Green Bay?

    How about the time in the playoffs at Tampa Bay when Taylor scooped up a fumble and dashed 51 yards for a score in a 17-10 Redskins win?

    Or the time he intercepted Carolina's Jake Delhomme in the end zone to settle a 17-13 game in Washington's favor exactly a year ago this week?

    Big hits? Consider the one at Pittsburgh in 2004, the one that made the "Jacked Up" lists. Or the hit on Dallas's Patrick Crayton on 3rd-and-4 to break up a pass late in a 14-13 win. Or the hit on Oakland's Jerry Porter at FedExField in 2005.

    For all of that, though, Sean Taylor's finest moment as a Redskin player may have come on New Year's Day of 2006 at Philadelphia's Lincoln Financial Field.

    Late in a typically hard-fought NFC East affair, the Redskins were in front 24-20 but Philadelphia had designs on a come-from-behind win.

    Phillip Daniels rushed quarterback Koy Detmer from the blind side and forced a turnover.

    Taylor was quickly on the loose ball. He raced 39 yards to the end zone, then took a head-first leap over the goal line. He started his leap at the 5-yard line, an example of his remarkable athleticism.

    The Redskins sidelined erupted in glory. That's the sequence that put the Redskins into the playoff for the first time since 1999 and the play that represents Sean Taylor's signature statement in the burgundy and gold.

    Said Taylor after that game: "It's not the Sean Taylor show, it's the Redskins' show. It was the Redskins' defense, the Redskins' offense and the Redskins' special teams. There are a lot of guys out there playing their best football right now, that's all I can tell you."

    For the foreseeable future we mourn the death of Sean Taylor. Off in the distance, when Redskins fans reflect upon his career, New Year's Day of 2006 should top the list.
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    Default Doc's Blast from the Past -- Special Edition Part V addended

    Here are a few pictures of Sean from the Tribute Game Day magazine I took the articles out of.

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