Sean Michael Maurice Taylor (April 1, 1983 – November 27, 2007) was an American football player who was a free safety for the Washington Redskins of the National Football League (NFL) for four seasons. He played college football for the University of Miami, was a member of the Hurricanes' 2001 BCS National Championship team, and earned unanimous All-American honors. The Washington Redskins chose Taylor with the fifth overall pick of the 2004 NFL Draft. Due to his ferocious hits, several of his Redskins teammates nicknamed him "Meast," a portmanteau word from the expression "half man, half beast."
Taylor died at the age of 24 on November 27, 2007, from critical injuries from a gunshot by intruders at his Miami area home. His death led to an outpouring of national support and sympathy, especially in the Washington, D.C. area, where Taylor had been a fan favorite as a Redskin, and the Miami area, where Taylor had starred for the Miami Hurricanes, after leading Gulliver Prep to a Florida state high school championship and setting a state record for most touchdowns in a season.
Tight end Chris Cooley, tackle Chris Samuels, and long snapper Ethan Albright honored Taylor at the 2008 Pro Bowl by wearing his number 21 rather than their usual numbers. To honor Taylor in the first game following his death, the Redskins defense lined up ten players on the field against the Buffalo Bills leaving Taylor's traditional position of free safety vacant for the first defensive play.
He is also known as Sean Michael Maurice Taylor.
On November 18, 2007, burglars pried open a window to Taylor's empty home and rifled a desk and safe. On November 26 at 1:45 a.m., Taylor was shot in the upper leg by an intruder. His longtime girlfriend Jackie García (a niece of actor Andy García) and their 18-month-old daughter Jackie were not injured. Taylor had extensive blood loss through a severed femoral artery and he died on November 27.
On November 30, four men – Venjah K. Hunte, 20; Eric Rivera, Jr., 17; Jason Scott Mitchell, 19; and Charles Kendrick Lee Wardlow, 18 – were arrested. Police said more than one confessed. All four men were charged with felony second-degree murder, armed burglary and home invasion robbery with a firearm, charges which carried a maximum of life in prison. In May 2008, a fifth suspect, 16-year-old Timothy Brown, was charged with first-degree murder and burglary. All the murder charges were subsequently increased to first-degree murder. The death penalty, however, was not sought because the gunman, Rivera, was 17 years old.