MIAMI, Fla. – Its magnitude accomplished what the South Florida sky has been unable to: cast a shadow on Super Bowl week.
“Honestly, when I first heard it – I didn’t believe anybody,” Kansas City Chiefs defensive lineman Derrick Nnadi, a Virginia Beach native, admitted to News 3.
As teams, fans and media arrived in South Florida to usher-in Super Bowl LIV – a Sunday stunner. In California, NBA legend Kobe Bryant – just 41 years old, perished in a helicopter crash. 2,700 miles away, many in Miami were grieving and wondering what could’ve been for a legendary life cut short. For some here, it’s a bit of déjà vu.
“The first feeling I felt was just how the world felt with Kobe,” Chiefs defensive back Kendall Fuller, a Virginia Tech product, said when recalling how he felt upon learning about Sean Taylor’s death more than 12 years ago.
In Miami, back in November 2007, Redskins defensive back Sean Taylor, a South Florida superstar, was shot and killed in his home. He was 24 years old.
Jason La Canfora, an NFL Insider for CBS Sports, worked for the Washington Post at the time.
“He did have a little bit of a transcendent quality,” La Canfora recalled. “And for his life to be taken the way it was was a horrible, unspeakable thing.”
One of Sean’s best friends, Andre Maddox – a former NFL player himself, grew-up 10 blocks away from Taylor. During our visit at Gulliver Preparatory School, where Sean starred in high school, Maddox explains that unlike his numbers on the scoreboard that bears his name: Sean Taylor’s legacy is anything but faded.
“Kids still come here to this day for him – because he went here,” Maddox revealed.
Maddox, whose football playing days with Sean Taylor date back to middle school, tells News 3 he’d never given much thought to going into coaching. Yet, he recently completed his 10th season coaching football at Gulliver Prep – for a team that plays its games on Sean Taylor Memorial Field.
“Somehow I feel like it’s my contribution to Sean, somewhat, to be able to be here and keep his legacy alive at Gulliver,” Maddox said.
“His legacy definitely lives on,” added Michael McFarlane, another one of Taylor’s longtime friends. “You have little kids who have never seen him play inquire about him – they watch film on him.”
When a larger than life figure leaves this world too soon, the dark cloud and shadow from sorrow won’t last forever. But a legacy can.
News 3 will have LIVE coverage from Super Bowl LIV, on-air and online, all week.