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RI: The Saddest Day At Redskins Park

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Old 11-27-2007, 09:14 AM   #1
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RI: The Saddest Day At Redskins Park

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There is pain everywhere here after Sean Taylor, 24, died early this morning from gunshot wounds suffered during an invasion at his home in the Miami area. Taylor was in the prime of his career, in this his fourth NFL season. He was engaged to be married and leaves behind a daughter, Jackie, who is 18-months old, and an organization that will deeply mourn his passing for years to come.

The scene out at Redskins Park is grim. A single bouquet of white roses sits propped up against the doors to the main entrance of the facility. The PR staff is sullen, their loss palpable. The parking lot is half full, although some coaches and team officials are inside. Employees are arriving in silence.

The sky is now heavily overcast, though for a few minutes the glistening morning sun crept through the clouds. A howling wind is whipping through the trees in the distance. Even the air feels thick.

The flags here were lowered to half-mast this morning. A group of fans arrived here very early, standing by Sean Taylor's parking spot, marked with his No. 21, and they are now gathered at a field near the security gate here. A vigil was held in that field last night, and should fans choose to honor Sean by heading this way today, they will likely be steered to that same field today.

I heard that cornerback Shawn Springs arrived very early this morning, before I got here. Tackles Todd Wade and Stephon Heyer were among the first players to walk into the building, guard Randy Thomas came in with his Ipod on, looking numb. Defensive end Andre Carter shuffled slowly from his car to the door, hugging Shelby Morrison, assistant director of public relations, on the way in, her eyes bloodshot and teary.

The PR staff has asked me not to chat with players at this point as the organization formulates a plan for interviews and such. Tuesday is usually a day off for the players, but most are expected to gather here at some point. According to the PR staff, they are not sure if a team meeting has been planned for the players to grieve together at this point, and, as you would expect, there are significant details to sort out on this a day that no franchise could ever truly prepare for.

"This is the worst imaginable tragedy," owner Daniel Snyder said in a statement. "Our thoughts and prayers are with Sean's family."
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