The NFL lost one of its most talented defensive athletes Tuesday with the passing of Sean Michael Maurice Taylor at a Miami hospital. As I'm sure everyone has read, his death stemmed from blood loss due to the severing of the femoral artery from a gunshot of intruders attempting to force themselves into his Florida home.
Taylor and his multicolored facemask were a mainstay at the top of the 2001-2003 college football landscape.
Sean Taylor deserves a post simply because he's one of the more interesting and exciting players in the league. He elevated his game in two of his Miami team's most meaningful games-- 2003 at Florida State and the 2002 Fiesta Bowl National Championship-- recording two interceptions in each (and returning one for TD against FSU). In what was probably his toughest assignment in college, he limited Pitt's Larry Fitzgerald to two receptions, 13 yards in 2003. His multicolored eye protector made him a recognizable figure from his freshman season as a 'Cane. Often regarded as mysterious, shy, and downright stand-offish to media outsiders, much about Taylor remains unknown to many. For example, he apparently owned a machete.
Even in the 2006 Pro Bowl itself, Sean will be remembered for lambasting an AFC punter on a fake punt.
The most interesting thing about Sean Taylor isn't that he'll necessarily be remembered as a particularly sound football player. In fact, Redskin defensive coordinator Gregg Williams often coupled his praise of the free safety ("He's the most talented football player I've ever coached") with lamentations of his often reckless execution, noting that most of his big plays on defense often corresponded to a blown coverage. Though playing an out-of-place, near-linebacker position, his 2006 All-Pro season will probably be forgotten in time. Even his previous run-ins with the law and a seemingly dangerous lifestyle have been seen before. The most notable fact about Sean Taylor is how hard his hits were. And that's a pretty badass thing to be remembered for.
Sean Taylor: 1983-2007.