|Grieving Redskins try to move on; police suspect random burglar killed Taylor|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 28 November 2007 15:46|
Miami-Dade police director Robert Parker said Wednesday there were no indications the slain 24-year-old was targeted or knew his assailant.
``There's nothing that indicates thus far that there's some kind of involvement on the victim's part,'' said Parker, adding it was ``more like a random event.''
Police have no suspects in the fatal shooting.
``We have no reason to think this was anything other than a burglary or a robbery involving an intruder,'' Parker said.
Police are still investigating, however, a possible link to a Nov. 17 break-in at Taylor's home, in which police said someone pried open a front window, rifled through drawers and left a kitchen knife on a bed.
Evidence at Taylor's home indicates one or more intruders barged into the house early Monday in an attempted burglary, Parker said. After a confrontation inside the home, Taylor was shot once in the upper leg and died early Tuesday after losing a tremendous amount of blood.
Taylor's family has scheduled a funeral service for 11 a.m. Monday at Pharmed Arena at Florida International University in Miami. Redskins owner Dan Snyder is arranging for the entire football organization to attend.
At Redskins Park on Wednesday, Taylor's family and teammates came together to privately share tears and memories.
``Many of these guys were wondering, 'How in the world am I going to go out and do this on Sunday?''' said Brett Fuller, the team chaplain. ``And when Mr. Taylor stood up and said go out and win these next five and make it to the playoffs, we felt a surge in the room, that he almost gave us permission to play well.''
Fuller said Pedro Taylor's 10-minute speech was followed by 10 minutes of ``hugs and thank yous.''
Sean Taylor's brother, sister and uncle were also in attendance, in addition to his girlfriend, Jackie Garcia, who also addressed the team.
``Both of them, they kind of echoed Sean's passion for things,'' coach Joe Gibbs said. ``And the way he cared about things.''
The team then began to attempt to focus on its preparations for Sunday's home game against the Buffalo Bills. Players went to their game-planning meetings - which were shorter than normal - and later held a quieter-than-usual afternoon practice.
``Nothing was normal about today,'' linebacker London Fletcher said. ``We had the meetings, but it wasn't the normal type of meetings. Practice, it was practice, but it just wasn't the same type of feeling, so to speak. We tried to make it feel the same, but I found myself thinking about Sean and imagining him out on the football field playing free safety for us.''
Taylor's locker remained untouched, but the Redskins made the uncomfortably necessary move of dropping him from the official roster as part of a series of personnel moves.
The NFL announced every player in the league will wear a No. 21 decal on his helmet at this weekend's games to honor Taylor. Redskins players will wear the decal for the remainder of the season.
Defensive lineman Andre Carter was having to cope with the loss of a teammate for the second time in three years. He played for the San Francisco 49ers when offensive lineman Thomas Herrion died of a heart attack after a preseason game in September 2005.
``I've experienced the death of two teammates,'' Carter said. ``No person wants to say that.''
Carter said he was drawing on his experiences in San Francisco to help him through the week. Also, Gibbs received a call from 49ers coach Mike Nolan, who offered advice.
Players found it difficult to stay focused on Xs and Os in the meetings, while the physical nature of the practice was somewhat therapeutic. Even so, many players did not wish to speak to reporters, including Clinton Portis and Santana Moss, Taylor's closest friends on the team.
``The mentality of it all is you really want to do nothing,'' Carter said. ``You just have these moments of sadness. ... The focus level is tough. But your teammates up in the sky looking down on you, they would want you to keep on pushing, keep on moving forward.''
The Redskins are 5-6 and remain in contention for a playoff berth despite three straight losses. Fuller said Taylor's father didn't explicitly say the team should win and make the playoffs for his son, but many of the players took the field with that feeling.
``Win for Sean,'' Carter said. ``But win for us.''
Notes: WR Jimmy Farris was signed, LB Matt Sinclair was promoted from the practice squad, and OL Kevin Sampson was cut. WR Burl Toler was signed to the practice squad. ... The Washington Capitals planned a moment of silence for Taylor before the Wednesday night's home game against the Florida Panthers. ... G Randy Thomas, who hasn't played since September because of an arm injury, took part in practice but said he remained unsure when he would be able to play.
Associated Press Writer Matt Sedensky in Miami contributed to this report.