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Mourners pay tribute to Taylor at funeral

December 04, 2007|From the Associated Press

Thousands filled a university arena for Sean Taylor's funeral Monday at Miami with his coach praising his "excitement for life" and the NFL commissioner telling mourners the Washington Redskins star "loved football and football loved him back."

The funeral comes a week after Taylor was shot in his home and days after four men were charged with killing him during the robbery. A lawyer for one of the suspects confirmed there was a fifth suspect.

Taylor's casket was surrounded by bouquets while a video display behind it showed Taylor from his days with the Redskins, Miami Hurricanes and high school.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said it had been a "sad week" for the league family.

Redskins Coach Joe Gibbs spoke to Taylor's growing spirituality.

"I think he's going to have 100-year football games," Gibbs said. "He had excitement for life and certainly he can still live forever. For me personally, I want to play on Sean's team."

The Rev. Jesse Jackson sat with the athlete's father, Florida City Police Chief Pedro Taylor, then took the podium and called for an end to violence.

Clinton Portis, a Redskins running back and close friend of Taylor's, spoke to the change everyone saw Taylor undergo with his daughter's birth. "Sean was living for his child, living for his girl," he said.

Actor Andy Garcia was also among the mourners. His niece, Jackie Garcia, was Taylor's girlfriend and was in the home when he was shot.

Former Hurricanes coaches Larry Coker and Butch Davis sat in the front row, along with current Coach Randy Shannon. The Redskins organization filled one section of the building.

Michael Outar recalled the start of his nephew's football career as a 6-year-old with the Homestead Hurricanes. Young Sean was assigned No. 66 and a place on the defensive line.

"He asked me, 'Uncle Michael, what do I do?' I told him, 'Hit the guy with the ball.' That's what he did, over and over," Outar said.

The Baltimore Ravens put quarterback Steve McNair on injured reserve, ending a season in which the 34-year-old struggled to stay healthy. He will have surgery on his non-throwing (left) shoulder today, the team announced. McNair played in six games this season, throwing only two touchdown passes compared to four interceptions. He also fumbled eight times, losing seven.

Detroit Lions wide receiver Roy Williams is expected to miss the rest of the regular season because of a sprained knee. Detroit also lost reserve safety LaMarcus Hicks to a broken ankle. . . . Tampa Bay Buccaneers Coach Jon Gruden said there is a "possibility" quarterback Jeff Garcia could play this week against Houston. . . . Derrick Ward, the New York Giants' leading rusher, suffered a broken left leg Sunday against the Chicago Bears and will be out indefinitely. . . . Miami safety Cameron Worrell tore a knee ligament in the Dolphins' loss to the New York Jets and is out for the season.

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