ASHBURN, Va. (AP/WAVY) — The Washington Football Team plans to retire late safety Sean Taylor’s number before its upcoming game against Kansas City.
Taylor’s family will join the team on-field for a pre-game ceremony in which Taylor’s contributions to the team will be remembered alongside the retirement of his jersey number, 21.
Officials say this will be the third jersey retirement in the team’s 89-year history.
After being selected with the 5th overall and first Washington Football Team pick in the 2004 NFL Draft, Taylor played for Washington during all four seasons of his NFL career. After his rookie year with the team, he started 15 and led Washington to its first playoff win in six years.
After being killed during an attempted robbery in November 2007, Taylor was posthumously honored by the NFL and named a 2nd team All-Pro selection in 2007. He was inducted as the 43rd member of the Washington Ring of Fame in 2008.
“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,” said Jason Wright, Washington Football Team President. “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.”
WFT officials say the first 10,000 fans to enter the stadium gates on Sunday will receive a limited-edition commemorative Sean Taylor rally towel fashioned after the original rally towel created following his death. His number will also be featured on players’ helmets, as well as a lapel pin for full time staff members.
The announcement came just three days before the retirement ceremony and with the organization in the midst of multiple off-field issues.
Washington’s head athletic trainer is on administrative leave for what a team spokesman called an ongoing criminal investigation unrelated to the club after federal authorities searched the practice facility.
Former employees are also calling for the NFL to release the findings of an investigation into Washington workplace misconduct after emails from Jon Gruden led to the Raiders coach’s resignation.