Louis Riddick remembers Sean Taylor the way he should be

Chris Lingebach
November 27, 2018 - 11:13 pm
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Tuesday marked 11 years since Sean Taylor's tragic death.

Taylor made an immeasurable impact on the game in his 24 short years on earth – and in just four NFL seasons – leaving behind a gridiron legacy that can still be seen today, in countless safeties across the league who still credit him as their football hero.

Look no further than the Washington Redskins current-day roster, which includes D.J. Swearinger and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, two players who call Taylor their inspiration for the game. The former wears Taylor's original number, 36. The latter referred to Taylor as "one of the best to ever play this game" upon his arrival in Washington. 

God Bless the Dead. -- Fell In love with the game because of you. #RipSeantaylor #RipBj #21 #God100 #Take21 ------------

A post shared by Haha Clinton-Dix (@_ha21) on

And then there's Landon Collins to the north, Kam Chancellor to the west – Taylor's memory is still felt at all points across the league.

One tribute in particular stood out Tuesday afternoon, and that came from ESPN analyst Louis Riddick, who was a Redskins scout at the time Washington drafted Taylor fifth overall in 2004.

"He was a generational player in terms of how he was built," Riddick said Tuesday on ESPN. "I mean you're talking about a man who was very close to 6-foot-3, 228 pounds when we drafted him in 2004, but had the movement skills of someone who was much smaller, a guy who was able to move around like a typical 5-11, 195-pound player.

"So this was a man who could play in the deep part of the field athletically, he could play down in the box and play the run, he could tackle and he had some of the best hands, as far as being able to go up and high-point the football, that you've ever seen. And I'm telling you, that you've ever seen. I don't give out compliments like this very often."

"He was the guy who, for me, from a scouting perspective, was the first guy who," Riddick continued, pausing to collect his thoughts. "It was interesting, because I had just gotten done playing and I had only been in scouting for a little while, so I was still kind of fresh off of trying to deal with whether or not I was satisfied with my own career. And when I saw Sean, it was like, you know what, I'm going to live through this guy for the rest of his career.

"And I struck up a personal relationship with him because, as I told him when he first got to Washington, I said, 'Look. I put everything that I know about football and as far as my reputation as a scout on the line, because I thought you were the only player that I wanted on this football team. The only player.' And that year, it came down between him and Kellen Winslow Jr. in 2004 and we wound up drafting Sean."

In the lead-up to that draft, you may recall the Redskins were hot for Taylor's teammate at Miami, Kellen Winslow, Jr. After assuring the tight end they'd draft him if he was there at five, Winslow vowed he'd get revenge against Joe Gibbs for misleading him during his pre-draft visit to Redskins Park.

Riddick continued: "And I said, 'Look. You're everything that I ever wished I could have been.'

"And he used to look at me and go, 'Well why do you say that?'

"I said, 'You don't understand that you have skills that I don't know this game has ever seen. You're gonna change the way this game is played. You're gonna change the way it's played at your position. You're gonna change the way it's evaluated.'"

"And in 2007, when he was murdered, is when he had started to hit his stride," Riddick said. "Where that year he had come in about 10 to 12 pounds lighter. You could see it – his body was just leaned out. He looked like a thoroughbred, like a racehorse. And he said, 'Look, the games are easy to me now. I need to work harder in practice because the games are a cake walk. I could play two games, three games if you needed me to.'

"He was just that special of a football player."

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