Most of you probably don’t know who Sean Taylor is, but I do. I’m a Redskins fan since birth and it’s the only team I can say that about. The Redskins have been a big part of my life, and when Coach Gibbs talks about “the Redskins family” and about certain players being “a true Redskin,” as a Skins fan you sort of start to buy into that idea. You start to think of this team as a family, and yourself as a part, however minor, of that family too. So you follow these players, learn their names and their numbers, and start to get kind of invested in these guys, some of them the same age as you.
Sean Taylor was one of those guys. He was one of those true Redskins, a hard-nosed player and one of the hardest-hitting safeties in the league. He was beginning to mature after the birth of his daughter and the fans loved him. I mean loved him. Bought jerseys, watched videos, shouted his name, we loved the guy. This season was his third in the league and he was leading the NFL in interceptions even though he missed two games with a knee injury.
And then the night before last he gets shot in his house by some nameless, faceless guy. Shot in the leg, bullet hits the femoral artery, guy we love goes into a coma. Hours of surgery, he responds to people and squeezes a nurses hand, we think guy we love will make it. I even talked with a friend last night about whether or not he could play next season.
And then this morning we fans wake up and, at least for me, get on the internet immediately to find an update on Taylor. And we see this: Taylor, 24, dead.
24. Same age as me. Part of the family, almost, you could say. And I don’t know what to do about it. All I know is that I’m reading everything I can about him even though I don’t want to think about it. And a couple kids in my studio are talking about it and all I can say in answer to their questions are simples yesses and nos. What else can I do, besides wear my Redskins t-shirt today? What else can I be expected to do? I’m a fan and maybe there’s nothing else for me to do than wear a t-shirt and take this loss into myself and let it become part of me like watching the team on tv is a part of me, like three Super Bowls are a part of me, like all their wins and losses are a part of me. It’s just heartbreaking, is all.