Has anyone else spent some portion of time lately thinking about Sean Taylor? I have, this week in particular. I have had a difficult time realizing that he's really gone. The idea that he's been gone almost a year is just unthinkable.
I'm wondering what could have prompted such an overwhelming feeling of loss so randomly. Sure, the Redskins are back in action, and it's always going to be hard to not see him on the field. And yes, at FedEx Field there is still a sign stating his name in burgundy and gold, hopefully memorializing him in our Ring of Fame forever -- he would have been destined for it in due time anyway. Sure, I have his jersey -- I still can't bring myself to wear it since last November -- tucked away in my drawer, waiting to come out when I'm ready to celebrate him and stop mourning.There hasn't been much talk of him lately, and the first anniversary of his tragic passing is still over a month away. What's going on?
Perhaps it was the brutal shooting which took away Richard Collier's left leg and paralyzed him from the waist down. Maybe it's the fact that Chad Johnson is (sarcastically, sure) advocating the fact that his team should engage in some "distractions" to get them back to the level they were at when they made the playoffs (note to Ocho Stinko -- the Bengals didn't make the playoffs when they were in legal trouble, that was the season after -- Thank God we didn't trade for him), regardless of the fact that it was at a nightclub where Darrent Williams got killed and where Pac-Man -- the class of the Cowboys -- shot someone. It may even be seeing Anquan Boldin and Dawan Landry -- Laron's brother -- get hit so hard they can't move just doing their jobs.
Regardless, there are constant reminders to the fact that with this game and this league, maybe more than any other, has so many problems and provides so much danger to the lives of its professionals. In addition to the Boldin and Landry examples, what about the refs? Think of a baseball umpire receiving as much hate mail after a close call in the World Series as Ed Hochuli got after one blown call (which didn't directly cost the Chargers the game, by the way, they could have stopped the TD on 4th down or the 2-pt conversion) in a REGULAR SEASON game!
I guess my long-winded point to all of this is that as devoted fans to our Redskins, the team is unknowingly a part of your and my family. So, perhaps the sting of Sean Taylor's loss -- a guy who would probably be the best defensive player in the NFL by now, don't you think? -- won't go away for a while. Maybe it will manifest itself just when you see someone wearing #21, no matter what team is on the jersey. Maybe it will happen whenever you see the Redskins take the field. Maybe you've already moved on.
Regardless -- to Sean, we miss you. I always will. You were the best athlete I've ever seen and on your way to becoming one of the best success stories in the NFL after reconciling your troubled past. Without ever meeting any of us, you touched us directly by watching someone just so great do their thing so effortlessly.
One last story. When we beat the Cowboys last week, in part due to an interception by Sean's "replacement" (as if anyone can replace him) at free safety, one of my first thoughts walking back to my apartment?
"Yeah, but think about how much we could have beaten them by if we still had Sean."
We love you, 21. I'll never forget you.