Dan Snyder still feels the Sean Taylor pain

By – – Thursday, March 14, 2019

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Former safety managed to do something that is not easy when he was introduced by the Thursday afternoon as their big free agent signing — he managed to make the franchise and its owner, Dan , seem human.

How? By connecting with the legacy of the late , the beloved star safety.

“It’s very emotional to be at a place where my favorite player played, someplace I’ve always dreamed of, ready to put that uniform on,” said, referring to as his childhood idol.

That’s not unusual — a generation of football players grew up idolizing , tragically killed after a break-in at his Miami home in 2007. The first words out of the mouth of the player is replacing, safety D.J. Swearinger, in an introductory Nation interview in 2017, were about . But this one was a little different.

The Collins signing — six years, $84 million, with $45 million, mind you, of that guaranteed — appears to be a -driven move. It’s a high-priced, high-profile early free agency attention-grabber — not the sort of free agent signing the Prince of Darkness, team president Bruce Allen, would make.

There may be an element of sentimental nostalgia to Snyder’s desire to land . The owner may see him as the spiritual heir to , a fitting replacement, finally for a defensive star whose presence still seems to loom over the organization. and his legacy certainly seem to haunt .

, 25, a personable, charismatic player, easily won his Park press conference when he told the story about how he was moved to tears at a dinner Wednesday night with after the owner presented him with a signed, game-worn number 21 jersey.

It took a few moments to gain his composure before sharing the story. “We were sitting there at dinner last night,” he said. “Mr. had a box at the table. I asked ‘What’s in the box?’ He said, ‘A gift for you.’ I asked, ‘Can I open it?’ He said ‘No, wait for your mom and your girl here,’ so I said, cool.”

When ‘ son also asked about the gift. gave in and told what was in the box and the story behind the jersey. “I can’t tell you the whole story, but it had all the emotion and passion behind it,” said. “It was the story between him and and how he told me he loved him as a son and saw him as everything.

“When he told me it was a game-worn jersey signed by him in the box, I instantly broke down,” said. “He tried to hand me the box, but I couldn’t move. I was shaking. My son actually grabbed the box and started to open the box. I am still crying and emotionally. My son pulls the jersey out of the box, I still can’t touch the jersey, staring at it the whole time. The jersey is on the table everyone is looking at it at quiet. It took me about 30 to 45 minutes to calm down. I couldn’t even eat.”

Then looked at , sitting in the audience next to Allen, and said, “It was an honor and I really appreciate it, Mr. , I really do.”

, who wore number 21 during his four seasons with the — three as a Pro Bowl safety — was asked about the chance he could wear ’s jersey. No one has worn number 21 since his death. “I don’t know,” said. “I have to ask Mr. and we have to talk to his family … I love that burden. I love that passion. I love that on my shoulders. I definitely could carry that.”

This was a banner day at Park, a celebration of humanity inside the walls of the NFL’s haunted house. Those days are few and far in between, and certainly worth some of the money they are paying . But at some point the tears will dry up, the Sean Taylor stories will have been told over and over again, and it will be time to play football for the .

When that reality sets in, the tears may flow again.

⦁ Hear Thom Loverro on 106.7 The Fan Wednesday afternoons and Saturday and Sunday mornings and on the Kevin Sheehan Show podcast every Tuesday and Thursday.

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