ASHBURN, Va. — The Washington Football Team will retire late safety Sean Taylor’s No. 21 jersey, making him only the third player in franchise history to receive such an honor.
Taylor’s jersey number will be written off during a ceremony for Sunday’s home game against the Kansas City Chiefs. The team also announced on Thursday that a road leading to the stadium will be renamed ‘Sean Taylor Road’.
Washington players will also wear a number 21 decal on their helmets on Sunday.
Taylor joins Sammy Baugh (No. 33) and Bobby Mitchell (No. 49) as the only Washington players with their jersey numbers. Other numbers such as Darrell Green’s No. 28, Art Monk’s No. 81 and John Riggins’ No. 44 have not been worn since these players retired. All three are in the Hall of Fame.
“I came to the NFL the same year as Sean Taylor and immediately his athletic skills, resilience, guts and relentless work ethic set him apart. I and many others considered him a role model,” said Jason Wright, president of the Washington Football Team. in a statement. “The fact that he was tragically taken so early has hurt our playing community, but also our fans, coaches and staff. We will always remember and dedicate him as an example of professionalism and excellence, and we will all look to it.” striving to hold up a mirror.” its excellence in our own way.”
The shirt’s retirement comes amid new focus on the Washington franchise investigation — after multiple emails emerged from when Bruce Allen was team president, leading to Jon Gruden’s resignation from the Las Vegas Raiders . Those emails were part of court documents filed in June.
The NFL Players Association has announced that it will ask the league to release the 650,000 emails collected by the franchise as part of the investigation. The NFL said it has not leaked any emails and will not reopen the investigation or release any emails.
Amid skepticism Thursday morning about the timing of the Taylor announcement, a team spokesperson said in a statement that the organization began planning the ceremony ahead of the season and wanted it to be part of the franchise’s alumni weekend. Another former player, ESPN analyst Ryan Clark, said he was contacted in September about taking part.
Because people are wondering, Tim Hightower contacted me on September 22 to invite me to the @WashingtonNFL alumni weekend. In his text, he told me that they would honor Sean and his family. I assumed this was the reason I got the invite since I hadn’t been there before.
Ryan Clark (@Realrclark25) October 14, 2021
The team’s statement read in part: “We are planning to pay tribute to Sean Taylor since the start of the season this weekend in conjunction with Sean Taylor’s family and as part of our Alumni Weekend activities. … Our apologies to fans who have received increased attention and will continue to share with fans how we will be celebrating Sean Taylor’s legacy in the coming month.”
Taylor was shot while attempting to break into his Florida home on November 27, 2007, and later died. According to teammates and coaches, at the time of his death, he was in the midst of his best NFL season despite being out with an injury at the time, and was named a second-team All-Pro in 2007.
Washington drafted Taylor with the number 5 pick in 2004. He wore number 36 during his rookie season and moved up to number 21 the following year.
Taylor’s combination of size and physical prowess made him a unique talent in Washington high school, and his popularity led to a number of safety helmets that later wore the number 21. Washington’s current security Landon Collins, who wore the number 21 when he was with the New York Giants, said he hoped Washington would draft him because Taylor had played there.
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