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Sean Taylor: What could have been

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Sean Taylor: What could have been

Most football fans went to bed on the night of November 26, 2007 thinking that Sean Taylor was going to be OK. There were reports that he had squeezed a hand in response to a question and that after a very difficult first day after having been shot in the leg during a home robbery, things were looking up. Taylor wasn’t out of the woods but he seemed to be on his way.

And then the next morning everyone woke up to the horrifying news that Taylor had died, unable to recover from the loss of blood from the wound to the femoral artery in his leg.

Suddenly, the player who was just beginning to turn potential into performance and had become the best player on the Redskins, the friend and teammate to Santana Moss, Clinton Portis and many others, the prized pupil of Joe Gibbs and Gregg Williams, and, most importantly, the doting father to 18-month-old Jackie, was gone.

We don’t know just how good Taylor may have been on the field. He had made the Pro Bowl in 2006 and had done enough in 2007 to earn—truly earn—posthumous honors.

It seems certain that those would have been the first of many trips to Hawaii for Taylor. He was just 25 and the only question was if he would be one of the best ever to play safety for the Redskins or if he would become one of the league’s greatest of all time.

The affects of the loss of Taylor were far reaching and are still felt today. Looking at the on-field aspects of tragedy, the Redskins have never been able to find even a competent safety to take his place. LaRon Landry, who was going to team with Taylor to form a fierce safety combo for years to come, is a natural strong safety who struggled when moved to Taylor’s free safety position. Reed Doughty, Oshiomogho Atogwe and Kareem Moore have tried and have either moved on or, in Doughty’s case, moved into a backup role. Madieu Williams, this year’s free safety, is unlikely to be a long-term solution, either.

While it seems certain that Taylor would have enjoyed a high level of personal success with the Redskins, we don’t know if the team would have been substantially better. But the fans and everyone else associated with the team has to wonder what might have been and reacts to the fact that a punk with a gun deprived us of the chance to find out with a mix of sadness and anger. 

And of course, thoughts of what could have been. Earlier this season Sean's father, Pedro Taylor, addressed the possibility of his son playing on a squad with Robert Griffin III at the helm...

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If hairline fracture not enough, Cowboys Dez Bryant reportedly fined

If hairline fracture not enough, Cowboys Dez Bryant reportedly fined

Even when things are going well in Dallas it seems like controversy is never too far away. The latest stems from wide receiver Dez Bryant injuring his right knee during last Sunday's victory over the Bears. 

News of the severity of the injury did not emerge until Wednesday, when Cowboys coach Jason Garrett revealed Bryant suffered a hairline fracture where his tibia bone hits the knee. 

Why the wait? Reports from Dallas show that Bryant missed his scheduled MRI on Tuesday and the tests could not be held until Wednesday. Bryant also missed team meetings on Tuesday. 

MORE REDSKINS: PREPARING WITHOUT DOCTSON

Due to missing the meetings and MRI Tuesday, Bryant has been fined an undisclosed amount, per the reports

The injury comes at a tough time for the Cowboys as the offense has moved the ball well with rookie QB Dak Prescott. 

Dallas has won two games in a row after a narrow loss to the Giants to open the year. In three games, Bryant has 150 receiving yards and a touchdown. 

Against Washington in Week 2, Bryant went for more than 100 yards receiving. Late in that game, the Redskins began to shadow Bryant with Josh Norman. 

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Redskins preparing for Browns - without Josh Doctson

Redskins preparing for Browns - without Josh Doctson

After making a late call to put Josh Doctson on the inactive list last week against the Giants, the Redskins are preparing to play without the rookie receiver on Sunday unless his Achilles injury dramatically improves. The team is practicing with Rashad Ross as the fifth wideout for Cleveland, a source told CSN.

"It was actually last minute. It was 11:30 a.m.," Gruden said of taking Doctson off the active list in New York and replacing him with Ross.

"He just didn’t feel comfortable, couldn’t push off the way he wanted to so we had to make that last minute switch."

Gruden explained the team has lingering concerns about Doctson's availability as he continues to battle an Achilles injury. The rookie did not practice Wednesday, and the coach said he will not practice again Thursday, though he added the injury could stretch much longer. 

"It could be a possibility or a time that we put him down for a couple more weeks or a couple more days like we’re taking him off today, probably set him down tomorrow, see if that helps him a little bit," Gruden said. "This is new to everybody I think and the key is to get him healthy like you say. We are not trying to rush him."

Doctson has been active for two of the Redskins three games, and has two catches for 66 yards. He did show some of his ability on a long completion from Kirk Cousins against Dallas, though largely, Doctson and the Redskins have been frustrated by the injury.

"I am concerned. We’ve had all of the tests and there is really nothing there that we should be concerned about from a long-term problem, it’s just he is dealing with some pain," Gruden said. "We don’t know why it is but we have to try and figure out what it is and get it fixed."

For Washington, Ross likely will return kicks against Cleveland if Doctson is down. Active for the first time in New York, Ross had not practiced in that role throughout the week, and Chris Thompson and Will Blackmon shared the kick returning duties. With the Redskins preparing to play Ross, it means he can get the work returning kicks this week in advance of the Browns game. It also helps alleviate some of the workload from Blackmon, who will now be starting at free safety after DeAngelo Hall tore his ACL in New York.

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