Why Brian Dawkins admired the late Sean Taylor, another huge hitter

Reuben Frank
NBC Sports Philadelphia

It might be the greatest play in Pro Bowl history.

Third quarter of the 2006 Pro Bowl in Honolulu. The AFC had a 4th-and-6 near midfield and AFC coach Mike Shanahan ran a trick play, punter Brian Moorman taking the snap on a fake and racing off toward the right trying to run for a first down.

Ka-blouie.

Redskins safety Sean Taylor, then a 23-year-old playing in his first Pro Bowl, came up and absolutely destroyed Moorman, who fumbled the ball out of bounds a few yards short of the first-down marker.

It was the kind of hit you rarely see in a real game. Much less an exhibition.

Taylor had been selected as a Pro Bowl alternate and was only playing because Eagles safety Brian Dawkins pulled out as his wife experienced a difficult pregnancy.

Back home, Dawkins was watching on TV and marveled over Taylor's hit.

"He blew up the kicker," Dawkins said. "I couldn't make it because of the issue Connie was having in her pregnancy with our twins. So he was blessed to go, and that play will forever be a part of our enjoyment when we think of big hits. And of course when we think of his dominance."

Taylor was only 24 when he was killed during a robbery attempt at his home in Miami in November of 2007. His girlfriend and their 18-month-old daughter witnessed the murder. 

Sports Uncovered, the newest podcast from NBC Sports, goes back to his formative days in Miami, where he became a star of stars on one of college football's greatest teams; how he attracted the eye of Redskins decision-makers prior to the 2004 NFL draft; and his former teammates and peers answer the question of how Taylor would be looked at today had he not died more than a decade ago. 

Listen and subscribe to Sports Uncovered:

"The year he passed, I thought it all clicked for him," said Dawkins, who was inducted into the Pro Bowl Hall of Fame in 2018. "He and his girlfriend had just had their daughter and seemed to be in a great place. He was leading differently, from my conversations with some of his teammates. And his play on the field was outstanding."

Taylor and Dawkins shared a home state of Florida, they shared a position and they shared a mentality. 

They were two of the most ferocious hitters the game has seen in a generation. And when a Hall of Famer like Dawkins admires the way you play the game, you know you're doing it the right way.

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Why Brian Dawkins admired the late Sean Taylor, another huge hitter originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

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