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Sean Taylor so hardcore he could make kids go to College

Hat tip to Extreme Skins for pointing me towards the best written piece on Taylor I've read, yet. I am/have been growing weary of expending so much time trying to defend the character of a person I never knew, yet for whatever reason that has totally and completely consumed me and this space. I'm ready to let the police do their job and move on to football. I'm ready to put the tragedy behind me and focus on the sport I love while remembering a player that defined what I loved about it. Elizabeth Merrill of ESPN has knocked one out of the park (the sound you hear is me clapping) so forcefully that I think it will go a long way towards letting me move past picking a thousand internet fights over something (Sean Taylor's allegedly checkered past) that never really affected my life. He was a great football player. I cannot explain why I felt compelled to defend his character, which wasn't important to me so long as he was forcing fumbles and helping us win football games. Maybe I'm just a fucking wierdo.

But Elizabeth takes care of business, so I won't have to continue trying to do so. To wit:

Nobody really knows why Sean Taylor showed up one day in February. He was like that, often leaving people guessing. He'd done speaking gigs at schools around the Miami area as penance for one of his own questionable decisions, but this trip was voluntary.

He was supposed to talk for an hour, and stayed for three. And when the young NFL star who seemingly had finally figured it all out finished his spiel about staying on a straight path, at least two young men vowed to stay in school, just like Taylor.

"They were really taken by him," says Steve Rummel, the former principal at MacArthur. "They said, 'I'm going to college. I can do this.'

"He didn't grow up in some neighborhood where there were drugs being sold on the streets," says former NFL linebacker Ralph Ortega, who coached Taylor in high school. "Sean didn't grow up stealing bicycles or running around with some gang.

"He was an extremely clean-cut, well-mannered kid. And that's what I remember. If there's another truth, fine. But I'd like to hear it from somebody who was really there."

That would be pretty much the thrust of the article, which tells a crazy story about a good kid, raised in a moral universe by a Police Chief in middle America, that attended a respected private High School and ultimately used his success to try and help kids get educated. Hardcore, I know.