TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) - Still in disbelief of his childhood friend's shooting death, Arizona Cardinals cornerback Antrel Rolle vowed Wednesday to make sure Sean Taylor is remembered.
He added he did not believe the killing was part of a burglary gone sour, and that Taylor had many enemies on the streets of Miami.
``He really didn't say too much,'' Rolle said, ``but I know he was pretty much scared every time he was down in Miami.''
Rolle and Taylor, whose fathers were policemen in Homestead, Fla., started playing football together when they were 6 years old. They went on to become University of Miami teammates and NFL first-round draft picks. Both wore No. 21, Rolle for the Cardinals, Taylor for the Washington Redskins.
Rolle said he hadn't talked to Taylor in a while, and that the Redskin had withdrawn from the crowd he hung around with to build a new life with his girlfriend and young daughter.
``There was so much surrounding him,'' Rolle said. ``Everyone was talking about him bad, so he just had to distance himself from everyone and live a life of his own. ... Within the last year, I've never seen anyone make such a dramatic change,''
Withdrawing from a bad crowd isn't easy, though, Rolle said.
``They say it was a burglary. It absolutely was not a burglary,'' he said. ``Down South, where we're from, there were many people talking to Sean, a lot of jealousy, a lot of angry people.
``Sean, he had a large group of friends, and he no longer hung out with those friends, so you never know where this came from.''
Rolle said his family rushed to the hospital to be with Taylor's family following the shooting.
``It really hasn't hit me yet,'' Rolle said, ``the fact that I'm never going to see his face again, his ways, him performing on the field. My heart goes out to his girlfriend, his family, his little kid.''
Rolle will leave immediately after Sunday's game against Cleveland on a flight to Miami, where he will attend Monday's memorial service. But Rolle wants fans to keep remembering Taylor as the player he was and the man he was becoming after some rough years.
``I'm going to keep his name alive,'' Rolle said. ``Every time I make a play, I'm definitely going to mention him. I'm going to represent my 21 as his 21.''
Rolle said he and Taylor became friends as 6-year-old teammates for the Homestead Hurricanes. Later, when they played against each other, Rolle was a running back and Taylor a linebacker.
``They'd call a sweep one way,'' Rolle said. ``I would look at him on that side, and I would change the play myself and go the other way because I knew he would try to knock my head off.''
Rolle was an All-American as a senior in 2004 and was picked eighth overall by the Cardinals. A year before, Taylor earned similar honors at Miami, then went to Washington as the fifth overall choice.
``I definitely will go out there and play and do everything I can do because I know how much he loved the game,'' Rolle said. ``I don't think there was anyone who lived it or took it as seriously as he did. I just told myself I'm not going to let his name die. We started when we were 6 years old, and we're going to finish it together.''

Recent NFL Discussions

2016 College Conference Previews on Tue, Jun 2016 by Blade
2016 QB Rankings on Wed, Jun 2016 by Blade
2016 Coaching Changes on Wed, Jun 2016 by Blade

NFL Top Stories

Thumbnail Talib shot in the leg Aqib Talibwas shot in the leg on Saturday, but seems to have avoided serious injury and will be able to return to the Denver Broncos...
Thumbnail Romo eyes lengthy return Injuries have been an issue at times for Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, but the veteran NFL star is far from thinking about...
Thumbnail Lockette retiring from Seahawks The Seattle Seahawks are losing another skill-position player from last year’s team as receiver Ricardo Lockette is expected to announce his retirement...
Thumbnail Dolphins securing the D-Line The Miami Dolphins are trying to make a push for the playoffs and they aided that on Saturday by signing Cameron Wake to a two-year...
Thumbnail Updated Super Bowl LI Odds The 2016 NFL Draft has now concluded. How did the draft impact the odds to win the Super Bowl next season?
More inNFL Articles  

NFL Team Pages