ASHBURN, Va. — The Washington Football Team will retire late safety Sean Taylor’s No. 21 jersey, making him only the third player in franchise history to receive such an honor.
Taylor’s jersey number will be retired during a ceremony before Sunday’s home game against the Kansas City Chiefs. The team also announced Thursday that a road leading to the stadium will be renamed “Sean Taylor Road.”
Washington’s players also will wear a No. 21 decal on their helmets Sunday.
“I came into the NFL the same year as Sean Taylor and immediately his athletic ability, resilience, grit, and relentless work ethic set him apart. I and many others looked to him as a role model,” Washington president Jason Wright said in a statement. “The fact that he was tragically taken so early hurt our player community, but also our fans, coaches, and staff. We will continue to remember him and hold him up as an example of professionalism and excellence, and we will all strive to mirror his excellence in our own ways.”
Taylor was shot on Nov. 27, 2007 during a robbery attempt at his Florida home and later died. He was in the midst of his best NFL season at the time of his death, despite being out with an injury at the time, according to teammates and coaches and was named as a second-team All-Pro in 2007.
Taylor will join Sammy Baugh (No. 33) and Bobby Mitchell (No. 49) as the only Washington players to have their jersey numbers retired. Other numbers such as Darrell Green’s No. 28, Art Monk’s No. 81 and John Riggins’ No. 44 have not been worn since those players retired. All three are in the Hall of Fame.
Washington drafted Taylor with the fifth overall pick in 2004, though he wore No. 36 during his rookie season. He switched to No. 21 the following year.
Taylor’s combination of size and athleticism made him a unique talent in Washington’s secondary, and his popularity led to a number of safeties later wearing No. 21. Washington’s current safety Landon Collins, who wore No. 21 when he was with the New York Giants, said he hoped Washington would draft him because that’s where Taylor had played.