Not Just Another Statistic

By: Jason Henry

Statistics are defined as one viewed as a nameless item of statistical information. Many young brothers and sisters are just that, a statistic. The city of Philadelphia has over 300 statistics this year alone. Think about it, that's how we are remembered once we leave this planet, as a statistic. Just a number and a few facts about you and then you are forgotten. Unfortunately, Washington Redskins free safety Sean Taylor is now a statistic. Early Monday morning Taylor's Miami home was burglarized and he was shot in the leg. The bullet severed his femoral artery and Sean lost a lot of blood. He was air lifted to a local hospital and spent 6 hours in surgery. Doctors told his family to "pray for a miracle" as his chances of survival were very slim. Sean Taylor passed away Tuesday morning as a result of his injuries. He leaves behind a loving family, teammates and an infant daughter. The brother is now just another statistic.

Listening to Sean's life being described in newspapers and news shows reminds me of how fragile life can be. I heard of how he led the NFL in interceptions this season and how much he had matured as a man. Taylor was one of the most feared safeties in the league known for his crushing hits and ball hawking ways. He was in his third year as a pro and headed to another Pro Bowl appearance this season. Looking at Sean's life, it seems as if he lived it to the fullest. He played football for one of the most notorious and storied programs in the country, the Miami Hurricanes. Taylor was a part of a young nucleus of players in Washington that includes close friend running back Clinton Portis, wide receiver Santana Moss, quarterback Jason Campbell and cornerback Carlos Rogers. The Redskins are a youthful team, but a maturing one as well. Taylor missed the last two games because of a sprained knee, explaining why he was at his home in Miami. He was expected to return to play December 6th against the Chicago Bears. Sean's life, just like so many who fall at a young age, is so much more than just numbers.

Sean Taylor is known to America as number 21, a free safety for the Washington Redskins. The guy that roams the middle of the field intercepts a few balls and lays the big hit on your favorite receiver. This is all that we will probably ever know about Sean. Sure there will be talk of how well of a parent, brother and son he was. Interviews with his closet friends and teammates will be conducted and that will give us a snapshot of Sean Taylor's life. But for the most part Sean will remain just that, number 21 of the Washington Redskins. Defined and remembered by a few numbers. Number 26 was his number in college and he wore numbers 36 and 21 as a pro. We'll learn that he only went to one Pro Bowl and won one National Championship while at Miami. The most important number that will stick with us all is 24. Sean Taylor was only 24 years old when he was shot and killed. For many African-American males, this is the daily reality in which they are faced. Dieing before the age of 25 happens all too often to black men, especially in areas of poverty. While Sean was able to remove himself from a bad environment, he could not escape the harsh realities of being a young African-American male.

In the end, Sean will be remembered as a football player. That's what he represented to so many of us. He embodies what it means to come from such a bad place and to uplift yourself past what is expected of you. Unfortunately Sean's life was cut short. His life was taken from him by another human being which makes his death more painful. Taylor's demise will contribute to the homicide rate of Miami and will add another life to the growing list of young African-American males who were gunned down in 2007. Sean Taylor is more than just a statistic; he is a father, a son, a teammate and a brother. You cannot place a number on what Sean's life meant those that loved him most.

-JH

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