Today marks the 10th anniversary of the late Sean Taylor's passing. It's hard to believe the NFL and the rest of the world lost such a bright young star a decade ago when his life was taken by an intruder who issued a fatal gunshot wound to the 24-year-old's leg. In such a short amount of time, Taylor was easily becoming one of the most dominant safeties in the league, grabbing two Pro-Bowl bids in his first four years. Let's honor him by taking a look at the top-five moments of his NFL career.
5. Taylor's Special Teams Block on Detroit Defender (2004)
Taylor was know for being one of the biggest hitters the league has ever seen. He's right up there with guys like Ray Lewis, Brian Dawkins, Lawrence Taylor and other defensive players who knew how to lay the boom. He goes by the nickname of "The Original Hit Stick" so that should tell you something. During this game, the Detroit sideline and Taylor were jawing back and forth during pregame warmups. He took his frustrations out on No. 39 with a crushing but legal block.
4. Taylor Destroys Brian Moorman in the Pro Bowl (2006)
Yes, it was a punter, yes, it was the Pro Bowl, but my goodness whoever thought it was a good idea to run a fake punt with Taylor looming in the secondary was absolutely out of his mind. It looked like Moorman was going to make the first down right up until Taylor came out of nowhere as a blur on the screen and destroyed the punter's soul. Wrong place and wrong time for a guy who was just looking for a nice sunny vacation in Hawaii only to be steamrolled by a train like Taylor.
3. Playoff Sealing Touchdown Against Philadelphia (2006)
This technically counts for the 2005 season, but the game was played on New Year's Day and had massive implications for Washington's playoff hopes. In the final minutes of the game, with the Eagles driving, Taylor scooped up a fumble, which turned out to be the game-winning and playoff-clinching score. Heartbreak for Philadelphia, but glory for Washington.
2. The Return (2006)
Let's give this a 10 out of 10 in terms of ability to improvise. Taylor was not just an incredible safety who could lay the wood at will and easily intimidate his opponents, but he also had a knack for getting to the football and being a playmaker when the team needed him to be the most. This return was a classic example of that fact.
1. Taylor Picks Off Favre Twice (2007)
Whenever you pick off a Hall-of-Fame quarterback like Brett Favre, then you hold onto that ball and put it in the trophy case. When you do it twice in one game? Well that's when people start collecting your memorabilia instead. That's exactly what Taylor did in this contest. It was arguably the young man's best game of his tragically short career and the start of his maturity into a great player. He had a mission to prove to people, and that was that he was the best in the game. He never let anyone forget that.