By Paul Tenorio
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Just more than one year after the death of Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor, and two days after his induction into the franchise's Ring of Fame, friends, family and former teammates gathered for a memorial event last night in Ashburn to help raise money for the Sean Taylor Estate Trust, set up to benefit Taylor's 2-year-old daughter, Jackie M. Taylor.
The night included an auction of several of Taylor's vehicles, an autographed Taylor jersey and many other items -- including memorabilia signed by a number of Taylor's former teammates.
Taylor's girlfriend, Jackie Garcia, and his daughter Jackie were in attendance at the Original Steakhouse & Sports Theatre, as were several current Redskins, including Antwaan Randle El, Phillip Daniels, Chris Cooley, Andre Carter and Carlos Rogers.
Taylor died of a gunshot wound on Nov. 27, 2007, at his home in Florida. For many Redskins players, last night's memorial was both a chance to celebrate Taylor's life and an opportunity to support his family.
"We all love Sean and we all cared about him a lot and we definitely care about his family," Cooley said. "He has a great little girl and Jackie, from everything that's been said and meeting her is just awesome. So we're just here to support Sean in every way that we can."
Throughout the event, a montage of pictures from Taylor's career was shown on 10 112-inch television screens around the room. In one picture, Taylor hugged former Redskins linebacker LaVar Arrington. In another, Taylor is shown scooping up a loose ball.
During a speech before the auction, Daniels praised Taylor as a teammate and a friend, attributing the Redskins' run to the playoffs last season to Taylor, and said that the next step for the Redskins should be to retire his No. 21 jersey.
"It's real important for us to be out here," Daniels said earlier. "Sean meant a lot to us. He was the best safety that we all played with. And I just think it's important for us to come out here and support" his family.
Randle El also gave a speech in which he praised Taylor for living for his family.
Outside of the restaurant, three of Taylor's cars -- a burgundy BMW 760, a 2005 GMC Yukon Denali and a 1995 Chevy Impala SS -- sat behind yellow caution tape, part of the auction. Each car held different meaning to Taylor. The BMW was a car he bought after being drafted in 2004, while the Impala was a car Taylor purchased in 2007 to customize.
Several people, including some Redskins players, bid on the cars and other recreational vehicles up for auction -- which included all-terrain vehicles and a 35-foot sport-fishing boat -- but the most popular item of the night was the autographed No. 21 jersey.
The winning bid on the jersey was $25,000.
"It's not about the money, it's for the family," said Osama El-Atari, the owner of the restaurant, who bought the jersey. "It's for the family and the estate."
The auction raised a total of $120,000, according to Talia R. Boone, a spokeswoman for the event.