- The Washington Times - Monday, November 26, 2007

Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor was shot and critically wounded early this morning at his South Florida home, according to Miami-Dade Police and the team.

The fourth-year pro was gravely hurt after an intruder shot him in the leg, piercing a major artery and causing massive blood loss, according to a Taylor attorney and family friend.

Police, who are still investigating exactly what occurred, received a 911 call from Taylor’s home about 1:45 this morning and arrived to find the wounded Taylor.

The star player was airlifted to the Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital. He is listed in critical condition and is unconscious after undergoing more than six hours of surgery.

Richard Sharpstein, an attorney and family friend of Taylor‘s, told several media outlets that the player was shot by an intruder who entered the house and encountered Taylor in a hallway outside one of the bedrooms.

“It was clearly a burglary, an armed burglary,” Sharpstein said.

Teammates at Redskin Park in Ashburn confirmed reports that Taylor was out of surgery but still in critical condition.

“That’s the word,” tight end Chris Cooley said when asked to confirm if the team was told of Taylor’s condition. “Santana [Moss’] mom has been with him, and the news is that he has been in surgery for like six hours this morning and in a coma right now.

“It’s a fight right now. Everyone’s prayers are with Sean. You hope for the best. He’s a strong person.”

Police have spent much of the day at Taylor’s Palmetto Bay home examining the scene talking to Taylor’s girlfriend and any possible witnesses. Police said they could not confirm reports of an intruder, but that an investigation was ongoing.

“At this time, to be honest, it’s really unknown,” police spokesman Mario Rashid said. “There’s no evidence confirming any of that, or not. We’re just trying to get any information about what happened.”

The Miami Herald, citing police sources, reported that the initial call to police came after someone in Taylor’s house heard intruders attempting to pry open the rear door of the house. Taylor apparently went to investigate, and a female in the house then heard a shot. Taylor was found by paramedics with a gunshot would to the groin, the Herald reported.

The Herald also reported that Taylor’s neighbors believe someone may have tried to break into the house at least once in recent days. The newspaper, citing police records, said someone had broken into Taylor’s house Nov. 17 or 18, rifled through his belongings and left a knife on his bed.

The Herald also reported that about 20 family members and friends gathered at Ryder Trauma this morning, crying and making phone calls. They declined to speak to reporters.

Taylor is in his fourth season with the Redskins after playing at the University of Miami, and still made the Miami area his primary residence. He was an All-American in 2003 and was drafted by the Redskins in 2004 with the No. 5 overall pick. Taylor has missed the last two games with a knee injury but leads the team with five interceptions.

Redskins owner Daniel Snyder and several other team officials flew down to Miami this afternoon.

“On behalf of the Redskins, the players and everyone here at the Redskins, our hearts and prayers go out to Sean and his family,” Snyder said before leaving the team’s practice facility in Ashburn. “Myself and a group of Redskins are on our way to Miami. I really don’t have any details other than what everyone else has been reading and reporting. Our hearts and prayers are with Sean and his family.”

Taylor is considered one of the most physically gifted players in the NFL, but has struggled to remain out of trouble. He was fined $25,000 after skipping a mandatory rookie symposium in 2004 and was fined again in 2005 after spitting in the face of Tampa Bay running back Michael Pittman during a game.

In 2005, Taylor was arrested for brandishing a gun during a fight. He pleaded no contest and was sentenced to 18 months probation and also was fined again by the NFL.

But teammates today said Taylor had matured in the last two years, especially after the birth of his daughter, Jackie, in the spring of 2006.

“That man had changed his life, that man changed his mentality, changed his attitude. He came to work with a defined happiness,” running back Clinton Portis said.