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Taylor's Personality Was Shining Through

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It's basically accurate to say that your first impressions of a person can speak a great deal. In the case of Sean Taylor, though, that's not the case.

Initially, Taylor seemed aloof, distant and wholeheartedly unapproachable. He was basically famous, or infamous, for not trusting those who were new to him.

Once you penetrated some of that, though, Taylor's personality found a way to shine through.

Most Redskins fans got to know Taylor from afar. As evidenced by the 30 fans holding a prayer vigil outside Redskins Park on Monday evening, they hoped they get to know more of him in the future.

Unfortunately, Taylor passed away early Tuesday morning at a hospital in Miami. He was hospitalized after he was shot at his home in Miami early Monday morning.

In his fourth year in the NFL, the 24-year-old gifted athlete out of South Florida had begun to open up. Teammates said he had matured due to new family responsibilities.

He was engaged to be married to his girlfriend Jackie and he had a 1-year-old daughter, also named Jackie, born to his girlfriend in May 2006.

Coaches say his first Pro Bowl also changed him a great deal, making him more of a committed professional.

"I just take this job very seriously," Taylor said in a rare interview last training camp. "It's almost like you play a kid's game for a king's ransom.

"And if you don't take it serious enough, eventually one day you're going to say, 'Oh, I could have done this, I could have done that.'

"So I just say, 'I'm healthy right now, I'm going into my fourth year, and why not do the best that I can?' "

One personal anecdote: Whenever I travel with the Redskins for an away game, the first thing I do upon arriving at the team hotel is to put on a pair of sneakers and head out for a walk.

This year, Sean Taylor accompanied me on occasion. And on those walks he liked to talk about things other than football.

I found him to be a young man with a great deal of interests about life and the world around him.

That may not be something you discern when you first meet him. What I'm suggesting here is that there was a side of his personality that was really refreshing and it was something other than Sean Taylor, Pro Bowl safety.

He had more than his share of trouble in the past, some of it his own doing. For all of that, Sean Taylor did seem to be a changed person this year.

That's how he should be remembered by Redskins fans.

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