God, I don't know how to begin this. To wake up in the morning and hear this news, it just knocked the bottom right out of me. I mean, hell...Taylor was less than 3 months younger than me.
What angers me is the statements by sports reporters (namely Michael Wilbon) and ignorant people that say "I'm not surprised, he was a thug, he was a criminal, he embraced that lifestyle, this isn't surprising to us."
Those who know Taylor will tell you that those statements are bogus and misguided. The media never liked Taylor because he rarely granted interviews and was a very private individual. That's why they emphasize and exaggerate his past problems whenever stories are written about him.
Yes, he pleaded "no contest" to a 2005 assault charge stemming from an incident where he brandished a gun at a man...of course, the man had stolen several all-terrain vehicles from Taylor. Also, Taylor was acquitted of a DUI charge because it was found that the police had no reason to pull Taylor over, and he had not been drinking, and that is why he refused to do a breathalyzer test.
He was not one of these guys that hit the clubs constantly. He was an aggressive, emotional player on the field (as any good football player is), and a quiet, soft-spoken player off the field.
He had really become a more responsible individual when his daughter Jackie was born.
Clinton Portis, a close friend of Taylor's, said, "But ever since he had his child, it was like a new Sean, and everybody around here knew it. He was always smiling, always happy, always talking about his child."
Even Joe Gibbs noticed a difference.
"He loved football. He felt like that's what he was made to do," Gibbs said. "And I think what I've noticed over the last year and a half ... is he matured. I think his baby had a huge impact on him. There was a real growing up in his life."
Sean Taylor was cut down in the prime of his life defending his home and his family. If you can't respect him for that, there's something wrong with you.
Anyone who thinks that Taylor's death was deserved, or "earned", just because they think he's some kind of thug...they don't know Sean Taylor, and they shouldn't be so quick to pass such judgments.
R.I.P. Sean Taylor.