Former Washington safety Sean Taylor's impact on the game of football went far beyond the four seasons he played in the NFL. Tragically killed in 2007 at the age of 24, the way Taylor played the game -- aggressive and instinctive -- can still be seen in the next generation of defensive backs.
Some of the brightest stars in the game have explained that Taylor was a major influence on the way they molded their game, as they studied his tendencies and added it to their arsenal.
Potentially more than anyone, though, Taylor's influence can be seen in his younger brother, Gabe Taylor.
A freshman safety at Rice University, Taylor told the Washington Football Talk Podcast that he and others can see his older brother's style as he takes the field. Considering himself a "ballhawk" he feels he carries the same special ability to read plays and routes, and of course, he can deliver a hard hit as well.
"Just hitting, but like I don’t know. People say I move on the field like him and have instincts," Taylor said.
“He [Taylor's dad] showed me the clips and stuff like that, with Sean and the video of me and it’s like really resemblance…it’s like the same," Taylor said.
Though just a freshman, Taylor has already begun making his presence felt for the Owls. After starring at Gulliver Prep in Miami, he made his first career start on October 31 against Southern Miss. and had four tackles.
Not only does Taylor have parts of his game that resemble the former Washington safety, but he also draws on his brother's past performances as inspiration and motivation. One clip, in particular, gets him "pumped up" for a game.
“FSU vs. Miami, that hit," Taylor said. "I still don’t know how he did that.”
The play Taylor is referring to comes from Sean Taylor's days at the University of Miami. Taking on the rival Seminoles, Taylor saw a receiver flash across the middle of the field and delivered one of his signature bone-crushing hits that sent the pass-catcher flipping in the air.
Gabe Taylor will also check out other compilations of Taylor's dominant career to further get his juices flowing and remind him just how special his brother was.
“I watch that, and just like memories. Like these little sad songs, them little tributes," Taylor said."That’s what I watch mostly, so I can get in my mood.”
Among Sean Taylor's many highlights, one of the more memorable hits comes from the Pro Bowl, when the safety absolutely destroyed punter Brian Moorman.
While Gabe Taylor wants to implement that ferocity into his game, he's also aware that type of hit is something that probably wouldn't fly in football anymore, as he doesn't even understand how his brother got away with it at the time.
“Can you even do that? I don’t think he can do that," Taylor said. "I mean he can’t even hit hard in the Pro Bowl like that.”
“When people talk about it and I’m there, they’ll be like ‘Your brother is crazy. He’ll get fined for that,'" Taylor said.
Maybe he won't mimic that as he continues his football career, but Gabe Taylor will continue to embody his brother every time he takes the field. Both in his style of play and his motivation, Sean Taylor's influence is constant.