Washington to officially retire Sean Taylor’s No. 21 on Sunday

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The Washington Football Team announced on Thursday that it would retire former safety Sean Taylor’s No. 21 on Sunday during a pre-game ceremony before its Week 6 game against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Taylor, the No. 5 overall pick in the 2004 NFL draft, played four seasons for Washington before his life was tragically cut short in Nov. 2007, during a robbery attempt of his home.

Taylor immediately became a star for Washington in 2004 and was named to the Pro Bowl in 2006. He was posthumously named to the Pro Bowl and second-team All-Pro in 2007.

In just under four NFL seasons, Taylor started 55 games, finished with 299 tackles, 12 interceptions, eight forced fumbles and two sacks.

His No. 21 jersey has not been worn since his death, although it was not officially retired. Over the years, new acquisitions, such as Landon Collins, flirted with the idea of wearing the No. 21, pending team permission, of course, but it was always received negatively by fans.

In addition to honoring Taylor, the team will honor nearly 100 alumni during pre-game festivities. Washington will also rename the road leading to FedEx Field “Sean Taylor Road,” and his family will have the opportunity to visit his locker on the Club Level, which has been preserved since his last game.

Team president Jason Wright offered the following statement, per the team’s official website:

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. 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 inducted into the team’s Ring of Honor in 2008.

The first 10,000 fans to enter the gates on Sunday will receive a commemorative Sean Taylor rally towel similar to the one initially created after his death in 2007.

Players will wear No. 21 decals on their helmets, and full-time staff members will wear a No. 21 lapel pin on game day.

Taylor’s No. 21 will be only the third number in franchise history to be retired.

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