From his time as a prep star in Miami-Dade County to becoming one of the best defensive players in Miami Hurricanes history to his promising career in the NFL, South Florida cheered as Sean Taylor continued what looked to be a career destined for greatness in just 24 short years.
Monday, fans mourn the 10th anniversary of his tragic death following a break-in at his Palmetto Bay home.
Taylor, who was in his fourth season with the Washington Redskins, had returned home while dealing with a knee injury when a group of men broke into his home in the early morning hours of November 26th – eight days after another break-in had occurred.
While his girlfriend and 18-month-old daughter were unhurt, Taylor suffered extensive blood loss after being shot in the leg, with the bullet striking an artery, and died the next day at Jackson Memorial Hospital.
Four men were convicted for their roles in the case – included Eric Rivera, who was 17 at the time and who police said was the gunman. After lengthy trial delays, Rivera was sentenced in 2014 to 57 and a half years for his role. One suspect confessed the group knew Taylor kept large amounts of cash inside his home and thought Taylor would be out of town at a game.
Taylor had been one of the top prep players in the country at Gulliver Prep after leading the Raiders to a state championship in 2000 before signing with the hometown Hurricanes. In his first year at Miami, he helped lead the ‘Canes to their fifth national title while being named a unanimous All-American in 2003.
Drafted fifth overall by Washington in 2004, Taylor was one of the most feared safeties in the game as he had 12 interceptions – including five during the first nine games of his final year – and made it to the Pro Bowl in 2006. He was posthumously selected for the game again in 2007 while also being named an All-Pro.