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Sean Taylor is gone, but for Washington Football fans, he never left

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Editor's note: This article was originally published on Nov. 27, 2018, the 11 year anniversary of Sean Taylor's passing.

The moment still resonates. And it probably always will.

Every Washington fan remembers when they heard it, how they heard it, and where they were when the news broke. 

Older fans have the memories of Super Bowls and rocking RFK Stadium. For younger fans, however, there aren't Super Bowls. There's no RFK. 

But there was Sean Taylor. 

Download Sports Uncovered: Sean Taylor, the NFL superstar we didn't get to know

For four seasons, Washington had the best safety on the planet suited up in Burgundy and Gold. Taylor had the most swag in the NFL, talked trash, backed it up on the field and delivered some of the biggest, badass hits the league ever saw. 

In 53 starts, Taylor grabbed 12 interceptions and forced eight fumbles. 

In 2006, Taylor delivered Washington's only playoff win in this millennium. He recovered a fumble in a game in Tampa and returned it 51 yards for a touchdown.

The Taylor era was wild and it was ecstatic. There were lows, a DUI and a testy relationship with the media, but Taylor loved the fans. And the fans loved him, probably more than any other Redskins player since Doug Williams. For Washington fans born after 1990, Taylor was in Riggins/Theisman territory.

And then it was over. 

 

Taylor was having his best season in 2007. He had five interceptions in nine games. Read that again: 5 INTs in 9 games. Combine that with 48 tackles, a forced fumble and nine passes defended, and Taylor was on his way to an All-Pro season.

Then he got hurt, and took time off to spend with his family in Miami.  Anybody reading this far knows the rest of this story. The pit in the stomach grows for Washington fans as the calendar reaches the end of November. 

Taylor died on November 27, 2007, murdered in his own home while defending his family.   Even as time passes, the hurt doesn't recede. 

Much of the pain from the dumb things said in the immediate aftermath of his death has gone away. At this point, 11 years later, who cares. People said dumb things. 

Now, it's about remembering the player, the elite player and the incredible physical specimen. The guy that would throw his gloves to young Washington fans and show love to the FedEx Field crowd. 

Washington fans loved Taylor because there was never a player like him before, and honestly, there won't be one after him either. 

Taylor will never be forgotten, by Washington fans or by Washington players. 

It was a glimpse into greatness, and in some ways, seeing just a glimpse makes it even more romantic. More dramatic. Losing that greatness hurts. 

11 years later, it still hurts. 11 years from now, it will still hurt. 

Taylor died, but for Washington Football fans, he will never leave.