Today should have been Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor’s 28th birthday.
Instead it is the fourth birthday that his family, friends, former team-mates and fans are spending still mourning his loss.
Taylor died from bleeding after receiving a gunshot wound to the leg in November 2007 after burglars broke into his house for the second time in just over a week.
In just 55 games #21 managed to make 302 tackles, defended 41 passes, gained 2 sacks, forced 8 fumbles and snagged 12 interceptions.
It was not statistics though that made Taylor an absolute fan favourite in DC and in Miami (he was a former Hurricane), it was his hard-hitting and his willingness to sacrifice his body on every play that made him a All-Pro talent.
Taylor had a unique body shape, the type of player you could identify even if he had no number on his jersey or no Redskin face on his helmet.
He made the 2006 Pro-Bowl and delivered probably the hardest Hawaii hit ever when he laid the smackdown on poor old Bills punter Brian Moorman.
That was how Taylor did his business, he left it all on the field.
Before his death in 2007 Taylor was leading the NFC with 5 interceptions, despite only playing 1o of 12 games to that point.
Redskins fans around the world have wondered what if Taylor hadn’t been injured and hadn’t gone home to Miami that weekend.
Ironically I was supposed to see Taylor play live against the Buccaneers in Tampa on 25 November 2007. As it was my wife and I went to the game, a loss to the Buccs.
We were at the airport in Orlando, travelling home, when the news came up on the screens in the departure lounge about Taylor’s passing.
I can still feel the sense of utter disbelief.
Both the Redskins and the NFC Pro-Bowl team fielded teams on the field with just 10 defenders as a mark of respect following Taylor’s death.
Sean Taylor you are still missed, and there never will be a player to replace you.
Great tribute video from ivegotgame23 – thanks man.