Five years is an eternity, but no one — from present-day members of the Washington Redskins to University of Miami players to PeeWee players in South Florida — has forgotten Sean Taylor.
Last month, just before the Washington Redskins hosted the Carolina Panthers at FedEx Field, Sean Taylor’s father was invited to join the team in a pregame huddle.
It’s a touching moment as Pedro “Pete” Taylor shakes the hands of men who should have been his son’s teammates. (The team has the video here.)
Also that weekend, Sean Taylor, who died after a shooting in his Florida home five years ago today, was honored as one of the 80 greatest Redskins. He accepted the honor, along with Jackie, Sean’s now 6-year-old daughter.
In Pittsburgh, Ryan Clark, a former Redskins teammate who now plays for the Steelers, had Taylor on his mind first thing this morning:
Morning!! Remembering & honoring a great man, father and football player!! R.I.P my friend!! Love you Sean!
— ryan clark (@RealRClark25) November 27, 2012
At the University of Miami, where Taylor played, freshman running back Duke Johnson wears a hoodie with Taylor’s photo and the words ““When it’s all you have, it’s no longer just a game.” He isn’t the only player who looked up to Taylor as youngsters and were deeply affected when he was shot to death in Miami.
“Man, Sean Taylor is really legendary,” Miami senior cornerback Brandon McGee said (via the Sun-Sentinel). “A lot of people, when they think UM safeties, he’s the first thing that comes to mind. It’s just honor and respect for those who paved the way.”
A.J. Highsmith plays Taylor’s former position and is another South Florida kid. “A lot of us grew up looking up to him as a football player,” he said.
Johnson was 14 when Taylor died and said, “It was like someone in my family had died. I couldn’t focus,” he said. “I couldn’t concentrate. I actually didn’t go to school. I stayed home with my mom and she just talked to me about life.”
If you think there’s a chance that, after this group of players moves on, Sean Taylor will be forgotten, well, that seems unlikely. And Gabriel Taylor, Sean’s 10-year-old brother, is pretty good at basketball and football.
H/T Hogs Haven