Nearly 14 ago, Washington Commanders, then-Redskins, free safety Sean Taylor left this world too soon.
When an act of violence took the football player's life, Taylor left behind his fiancée and an 18-month-old daughter, as well as an enduring legacy that is still remembered today. Sean Taylor's legacy is alive and well, but where are his daughter and former girlfriend today?
Who Was Sean Taylor?
The great Sean Taylor would have turned 38 years old today. ? pic.twitter.com/ZlVlv7fEeu
— NFL (@NFL) April 1, 2021
Sean Taylor was a football star, a father and a victim of gun violence.
Sean Michael Maurice Taylor was born and raised in Pinecrest, a Florida city within Miami-Dade county. He began playing high school football at Miami Killian High School before transferring to Gulliver Preparatory School, where the cornerback played on both sides of the ball and led his team to a Florida Playoffs State Championship. The Miami-Herald named Taylor the No. 1 Miami-area football prospect.
Taylor kept it local for college, playing for Larry Coker's University of Miami Hurricanes. Taylor played an outstanding two seasons as a Hurricane, earning Big East Defensive Player of the Year and All-American honors in 2003. Sean Taylor's name still rings through the Miami Hurricanes Hall of Fame today.
The Washington Redskins selected Taylor with the fifth-overall pick in the first round of the 2004 NFL Draft behind standouts like Eli Manning, Larry Fitzgerald, and Philip Rivers. Despite skipping the NFL rookie symposium and earning a drunk driving charge (later dismissed), the defensive back was soon a Redskin favorite, starting in 53 games of his 55-game career. By 2006, Sean Taylor earned his first Pro Bowl bid. But in 2007, his life came to a tragic end.
Sean Taylor's Tragic Death
RELATED: Why Sean Taylor is My Favorite Miami Hurricane of All Time
Sean Taylor died on Tuesday, November 27, 2007, at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, Florida.
The 24-year old passed away nearly 24 hours after being shot by an intruder in his bedroom. Taylor and his longtime girlfriend, Jackie Garcia, were awoken by a loud noise, prompting Taylor to grab a machete for protection. Tragically, two shots were fired, one missing Taylor and the other severing Taylor's femoral artery, causing the severe blood loss that led to his eventual death.
The senseless attack came a week after intruders had broken into Taylor's home when he was away, leaving a knife on his bed. In the attack that killed Taylor, his girlfriend, Jackie Garcia, and their one-year-old daughter, Jackie Taylor, were left unharmed.
"You only get one dad and hers is gone. It breaks my heart to pieces to go through each day and each milestone without him," Jackie's mother said in 2014.
Four people were arrested for the murder, all under the age of 21. Venjah K. Hunte (20), Eric Rivera, Jr. (17), Jason Scott Mitchell (19) and Charles Kendrick Lee Wardlow (18) were all charged with felony second-degree murder, armed burglary and home invasion robbery with a firearm.
Eric Rivera Jr., the suspected shooter, was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to more than 57 years in prison. The shooting was the result of a poorly planned robbery in which the burglars didn't know Taylor was going to be home. Less than one year after Taylor's death, in 2008, a fifth suspect, Timothy Brown (16), was arrested and charged with first-degree murder.
NFL star Sean Taylor endured legal troubles early in his career, but he was said to be turning the corner by the time of his death. Tragically, it was the birth of his daughter that had inspired a change, one that many said was for good.
Sean Taylor was known as one of the hardest hitters with the most tackles when he passed. He was posthumously voted to his second Pro Bowl, where all Taylor's teammates who had been selected wore No. 21 in honor of his memory.
Sean Taylor's memory is still honored today. He was inducted into the Washington Redskins Ring of Fame nearly a year after his death on November 30, 2008. In October 2021, the newly-named Washington Football Team retired Taylor's No. 21 in a pre-game ceremony against the Kansas City Chiefs. Taylor's father, daughter and other surviving family members were in attendance and on the field.
Where is Sean Taylor's Family Now?
The Sean Taylor-inspired helmet that Chase Young wore vs. the Chiefs is now with Sean?s daughter Jackie pic.twitter.com/NARehTAqkA
— Pete Hailey (@PeteHaileyNBCS) November 20, 2021
The Sean Taylor Legacy Project - under the leadership of Sean's daughter Jackie - is off to a strong start, breaking ground yesterday on an outdoor learning lab in his honor pic.twitter.com/UlSzljWwFL
— Washington Commanders (@Commanders) October 17, 2021
Sean Taylor is survived by his mother and father, Pedro Taylor and Donna Juror, as well as his then-girlfriend and fiancée, Jackie Garcia Haley, and young daughter, Jackie Taylor. Garcia and Sean Taylor were high school sweethearts, and she tragically witnessed his death.
Sean Taylor's girlfriend Jackie Garcia now goes by Jackie Garcia Haley. Jackie is the niece of actor Andy Garcia and her husband, Shay Haley, is a member of the Pharrell Williams musical supergroup N.E.R.D. Her daughter Jackie is now in her teens in Coral Gables, Florida, where the 6-foot athlete plays volleyball at the same school her dad played at: Gulliver Prep.
Sean Taylor's Daughter Continuing His Legacy
Our volleyball program is on the rise! Jackie Taylor ?24 shares her thoughts on the upcoming season. pic.twitter.com/nW25UtjZa2
— Gulliver Prep Athletics (@GPrep_Athletics) August 10, 2021
The rising junior volleyball player could have a bright future in the sport considering her athletic genes and ideal height. Who knows, maybe she'll end up playing at Alabama or Nebraska, but all signs point to the Taylor legacy staying put in Miami.
She keeps a low public profile but was present for her dad's induction into the Miami Football Ring of Honor in 2017 alongside Ray Lewis.
Like all things Dan Snyder, the 2021 number retirement ceremony could not escape the bad PR. The former NFL player's number retirement was certainly warranted, but several fans found the Washington Football Team's trending approach to the ceremony distracting to the point of disrespect.
The road was re-dedicated in front of porta-potties.
The sideline number tribute was in the area where VIPs stand.
The half-time ceremony involved no speeches or recognition.
The owner wore a hoodie to the pre-game meeting with family. pic.twitter.com/HeroBghuK8
— Chad Ryan (@ChadwikoTWW) October 18, 2021
November 27, 2021, marks the 14th anniversary of Taylor's passing. He is gone but not forgotten.
MORE: 15 Athletes Who Died Before Their Pro Careers Ended
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