As is typically the case on Thursday Night Football, there were plenty of storylines entering the game between the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins.
For starters, both teams are battling it out for a spot in the playoffs.
With that said, Redskins safety D.J. Swearinger paid tribute to Sean Taylor on Thursday night as well.
#Redskins S D.J. Swearinger has his facemask taped up in honor of Sean Taylor. I remember sitting down with Swearinger his rookie year in Houston and him telling me he watches highlights of Taylor before every game. He still does that to this day.
— James Palmer (@JamesPalmerTV) December 1, 2017
Monday marked the 10-year anniversary of Taylor’s death, and Swearinger honored him by taping up his face mask, something Taylor used to do when he played.
— Washington Football Team (@WashingtonNFL) December 1, 2017
As washington.cbslocal.com pointed out, Taylor, to say the least, was a fierce competitor:
But Taylor has still been an inspiration for a generation of players who grew up watching him play. Even if they can’t hit like Taylor hit, or abuse opposing players into committing turnovers, players like D.J. Swearinger have still learned to channel Taylor’s excellence.
As the article mentioned above stated, this hasn’t been the only time Swearinger has paid tribute to the late Taylor.
“I just felt like I needed to wear it,” Swearinger told CSN-Washington. “No. 36 is my original number, period. But on top of that, I wore it because of my dad and Sean Taylor. So that had to happen, no matter where I went.”
And there’s also this (via 247sports.com):
Swearinger, who has openly called Taylor his idol and has worn his number since high school, paid tribute to the late Redskins legend while speaking to Carol Maloney of NBC.
“I had to represent Sean Taylor on prime-time night,” Swearinger said. “I wanted to rock the Sean Taylor jersey and represent him. … You look good, you play good, y’all know the rest.”
This is Swearinger’s first season with Washington. He previously played for the Arizona Cardinals and Houston Texans. Swearinger’s Redskins are currently 5-6 on the 2017 NFL season.
According to sbnation.com, “Taylor led the NFL in interceptions when he was killed, and was a promising young talent that played with a passion that was unmatched.”
“He just didn’t let up at any time. In the Pro Bowl some guys don’t really play their hardest. They don’t want to get hit,” former Washington safety Dashon Goldson told Sports Illustrated in 2015. “But s—, he was out there playing full-go.”
Taylor is now a member of the Ring of Fame in FedEx Field where Washington plays. While his No. 21 hasn’t been retired, it has yet to be worn since his tragic death.
At the time of writing, and once again, Washington has a 5-6 record, which is good enough to land them in contention territory when it comes to the playoffs. The Cowboys have an identical 5-6 record.
With that said, it’s going to be an uphill battle if they plan on making the postseason as the Redskins are No. 11 in the NFC standings. Not only that … but Dallas is leading Washington by the score of 17-7 at halftime.
The Redskins entered the contest against Dallas on a one-game winning streak.
Playoff talk aside, Swearinger honoring the late Taylor is yet another reason why we love sports.