Another sad day in University of Miami football history. As many of you already know, former Hurricane and current Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor was shot at his Palmetto Bay home early this morning by an intruder at around 2 a.m. and is currently in critical condition at Ryder Trauma Center in Jackson Memorial Hospital.
The Herald is working the story hard. Since I covered Taylor since his playing days at Gulliver Prep in Coral Gables, I've been trying to find out as much information as I can through my high school connections. Here's what I've found out.
According to family and friends, Taylor was at home with his girlfriend and their young daughter Jackie when he heard a noise in the back of the home. He went to investigate and was supposedly shot in the groin, in an area where a lot of arteries are. The gunshot by the intruder caused him to lose a lot of blood. According to my sources, the injuries sustained caused so much loss of blood, it has affected his brain and Taylor is expected to have "a long road back to recovery." My sources said Taylor's playing career is likely over.
The Washington Times blog Redskins 360 has quoted Chris Cooley saying Taylor is in a coma. "That's the word," Cooley told the Times when asked to confirm if the team was told of Taylor's condition. "Santana's mom has been with him, and the news is that he has been in surgery for like six hours this morning and in a coma right now. It's a fight right now. Everyone's prayers are with Sean. You hope for the best. He's a strong person."
UPDATE: According to reports, nothing was stolen from Taylor's home, which means this could have been an attempted murder.
Taylor, 24, has made a living jarring receivers in the secondary for the Redskins and his jersey remains as popular as ever with Hurricanes fans. But lately, he had gotten into a bit of trouble including in 2005 for waving a gun at people he thought had stolen his car. I know folks automatically assume that means Taylor was a gangster or some guy that was hanging with the wrong crowd.
But according to his cousin, Florida State safety Anthony Leon, Taylor was trying to shed those friends he grew up with in Florida City. Leon, who told me has spent his morning crying and praying from his dorm room in Tallahassee, said Taylor had "started to calm down."
"He's been trying to stay away from bad company -- especially for his daughter's sake," Leon told me. "Sean wasn't a bad guy at all. He's got his personality on the football field and off it. All he was trying to do was protect his family. And they shot him."
Gulliver assistant coach Ron Butler told me Taylor had stopped by Gulliver before the start of the season and often visited the school to speak to the team and to school administrators. Leon said he spoke to Taylor before the start of the season, "he told me just to keep trying hard, focus, that I was going to make it just like him."
Taylor was an absolute beast on the football field at Gulliver. He set a state record in 2000 when he scored 44 touchdowns in the Raiders' 2000 state championship season. He went to UM and tore it up, finishing second in the NCAA in interceptions in 2002 and making highlight reel hits on a usual basis. I was there at the beach house in the Keys the day he got drafted and I remember how happy he and his father were, hugging, celebrating. Taylor always had a confidence about himself that rubbed some people the wrong way, like if he was arrogant. I always just saw him as a kid who was proud of his accomplishments and determined to make it in life. He never seemed to have a problem with authority and he was always good to me about doing interviews when he was younger.
I just hope he makes it. The Hurricanes and this community cannot take another tragic death, especially for a guy who it appears was trying to clean up his act off the field and simply take care of his family. After what happened to Bryan Pata last year and Kevin Everett earlier this season, the Canes could use a little luck here and have Taylor get out of this OK.
"Folks around here are real shaken up," Butler said. "He's an icon around here. It's a tough day."