Washington defensive back Sean Taylor died 10 years ago today, the victim in a botched robbery attempt in Florida.
Taylor was shot in the upper thigh, rupturing an artery that led to significant blood loss. He was 24.
Bills linebacker Lorenzo Alexander was a member of the Redskins that season and says Taylor was among the most talented teammates he has had in a long NFL career.
"Sean was probably No. 1 or No. 2 on my list of the most talented guys I've ever been around, and his work ethic matched his talent," Alexander told The Buffalo News' Tim Graham. "He was quiet off the field, a great dude, great locker room presence. But he was fearless. He ran down on kickoffs, played safety, did anything you'd ask of him. He was the ultimate football player.
"He was becoming the face of the franchise, one of the best players in the league. He had some troubles, but you could see the changes in his maturity. He was a brother you went to battle with.
"When he died, it hit our team hard. We were actually able to rally around him and eventually make the playoffs. It brought us together."
Alexander said Taylor's impact on him extended beyond being a teammate.
"His death made me take a look at my own life and the legacy I wanted to leave, not only on the field, but in the community, with a family," he said. "We were the same age, and he was no longer alive.
"At that time I was living a different life, wasn't really a Christian, wasn't living right, doing crazy stuff, living the typical athlete's life. It hit me that, 'Man, if I die today, I've made no positive impact on anybody's life besides mine.' I just started working on myself as far as what a man is."