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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

More on Sean Taylor UPDATED

I've been thinking a lot about Taylor's death and the suspicious circumstances behind it, but I will get to that later. For right now, let's see what people are saying about one of the most feared safeties in the NFL.

From USAToday:

"God made him to play football. ... Sean, he loved football. He loved these guys here."

-- Washington Redskins coach Joe Gibbs

"The entire NFL is deeply saddened by the death of Sean Taylor. We extend our heartfelt sympathy to Sean's family, friends, teammates and the Redskins organization. This is a terrible tragedy involving the loss of a young man who leaves behind many people struggling to understand it. Our office is staying in close contact with the Redskins to provide all appropriate support to the club and Sean's family. We also are working to determine the facts surrounding this tragic event. We will honor the memory of Sean Taylor at all games this weekend."

-- Commissioner Roger Goodell

"When you lose a young man like that, in the prime of his life, it sets you back. You think about the things you really feel bad about, and you figure out, 'You know what? That's really not too important in the grand scheme of it.' "

-- Kansas City Chiefs coach Herm Edwards

"Sean has been a close friend of mine since our days at the University of Miami. He was a great teammate and an even greater person. It is so hard for me to fathom that I am not going to be able to pick up the phone to call him."

-- New York Jets linebacker Jonathan Vilma

"I just take this job very seriously. It's almost like you play a kid's game for a king's ransom. And if you don't take it serious enough, eventually one day you're going to say, 'Oh, I could have done this, I could have done that.' So I just say, 'I'm healthy right now, I'm going into my fourth year, and why not do the best that I can?' "

-- Sean Taylor in an interview during training camp

Now to the circumstances surrounding this murder as reported by the press. I am by no means trying to trivialize Taylor's death, but I want to start addressing these matters here now.

On Monday morning, Taylor and his girlfriend, Jackie Garcia, were awakened by noises coming from inside his Miami home. Taylor grabbed a machete he keeps in his bedroom. Then someone busts through his bedroom door and fires two shots. One hits Taylor in his groin area, wounding a vital artery that resulted in a lot of blood loss. Taylor never regained consciousness.

What is suspicious about the current media reports is that why would an apparent robber or intruder enter his bedroom, knowing he was in there? Why would he immediately fire two shots instead of running out of the house? Was Taylor out of bed and at the door, swinging the machete? Was he found unconscious in bed? Isn't this peculiar behavior from a person trying to rob the home? Rarely are homeowners shot during these incidents. Usually, the intruder runs once he knows someone is home. Wasn't it obvious Taylor was home? In fact, it was widely reported during Sunday's game that Taylor stayed home and did not travel with the team for the Tampa Bay game.

Why was Taylor even in Miami?

Redskins coach Joe Gibbs said he did not know why Taylor returned to Miami during the weekend. Taylor was not required to accompany the team to Sunday's game at Tampa Bay because of a knee injury, but it was a key game for the Redskins, who are vying for a wild card spot.

Police had no description of a suspect. Police confiscated a computer from Taylor's home.

Eight days before the shooting someone tried to break into Taylor's home. Why? Police are investigating that. During that incident, someone pried open a front door, checked some drawers and a safe, and left a kitchen knife on a bed. Oddly, nothing was stolen. The New York Times reported that a lawyer close to the family said investigators were apparently exploring possible connections between the break-in and two other recent cases: the burglary of the home on Nov. 17 and a dispute between Taylor and a group of men in southern Miami-Dade County in 2005 that resulted in felony assault and battery charges against him.

I think the intruder knew Taylor.

Maybe a bit insensitive, or maybe a lot, but Michael Wilbon believes Taylor's history followed him:

I know how I feel about Taylor, and this latest news isn't surprising in the least, not to me. Whether this incident is or isn't random, Taylor grew up in a violent world, embraced it, claimed it, loved to run in it and refused to divorce himself from it. He ain't the first and won't be the last. We have no idea what happened, or if what we know now will be revised later. It's sad, yes, but hardly surprising.

There's a ton of speculation about the details of his condition and the details of the incident, but this isn't a blog and we're not going to get into wild guessing and speculating here, though we will try and responsibly discuss other points of interest surrounding the latest strange episode relating to Taylor.

Again, I'm not the least bit surprised about the Taylor episode ... why would I be considering his history, even since he joined the Redskins?
Taylor's girlfriend has declined to comment to the press. So, right now, we don't know what she saw or what she knows. Don't be surprised if some very shocking details are eventually released as a result of this investigation.

His teammates today described Taylor as a young man who turned a new leaf after his daughter was born 18 months ago. He matured and took fathership seriously. His past, which includes several arrests, was just that: the past. But did his past follow him despite his apparent character change?

UPDATE: ESPN just reported that someone cut the telephone lines to Taylor's house. If this was not a deliberate shooting, I don't know what is. The intruder from the prior break in left the knife on Taylor's pillow, ESPN also reported.

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