In the NFL, when thinking about the Washington Football Team, formerly known as the Washington Redskins, one of the players any NFL fan thinks of is the late free safety, Sean Taylor.
Taylor would have turned 38 years old today on April 1. The unfortunate incident that took place in 2007 has since impacted players in Washington, the NFL and those who play the safety position.
NFL: History of the legendary safety
Taylor was drafted out of the University of Miami in 2004. Washington took him in the first round with the fifth overall pick despite the young man skipping combined drills.
Despite that, Taylor had an immediate impact on Washington's defense. In his rookie season alone, Taylor started all 15 games and racked about 76 tackles, four interceptions, one sack, and two forced fumbles, earning his way to the Pro Football Writers Association All-Rookie Team in 2004.
The Florida-native continued to bring that same energy each season, earning himself two Pro Bowl nominations in 2006 and 2007 (voted into the Pro Bowl after the shocking incident).
Taylor was likely playing his best football in 2007, having five interceptions and two forced fumbles in the nine games he played before tragedy struck.
He responded to a break-in at his house in Miami on November 26, 2007. Taylor was shot in the leg by one of the intruders and due to severe blood loss, Taylor passed away the next day.
News of Taylor's death struck the whole sports world and the NFL recognized (and continues to recognize) his death. Players around the league wore number 21 decals on the back of their helmets - Washington only had 10 players on the field during their first defensive drive in a game after his death.
Just last year, Washington decided to rename its headquarters street name from "Coach Gibbs Drive" to "Sean Taylor Road," yet another showcase of how impactful he was to the organization when he began playing in 2004.
Taylor's legacy continues within current NFL players, as current Washington strong safety Landon Collins chose the number 21 when he was a member of the New York Giants. He chose not to wear the same number (switching to 20 and then 26) when he came to Washington but strives to have a similar playing style as Taylor did on the field.
The same goes for Ha-Ha Clinton Dix, who chose to wear the number 20 (prior to Collins) in honor of Sean Taylor.
It's clear Taylor's legacy will always be on any NFL player's mind, especially those who play the same position the great Sean Taylor once did. May Taylor's legacy continue in Washington and around the league.