090907 sptdolphins Staff photo by Allen Eyestone/The Palm Beach Post--0042446A--Landover, MD...FedExField...Miami Dolphins at Washington Football Team. Dolphins WR #84 Chris Chambers makes a leaping catch for a first down as Redskins #21 Sean Taylor defends in the second quarter.

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WFT retiring Sean Taylor’s No. 21, faces backlash for short notice

The Washington Football Team will retire Sean Taylor’s No. 21 jersey prior to Sunday’s home game against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Taylor will become the third player in franchise history to receive the honor, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers Sammy Baugh (No. 33) and Bobby Mitchell (No. 49).

Washington also announced Thursday a road that leads to FedExField will be renamed “Sean Taylor Road.”

No member of the team has worn No. 21 since Taylor was shot during a burglary attempt at his home in Miami on Nov. 26, 2007. He died the following day at the age of 24.

“I came into the NFL the same year as Sean Taylor and immediately his athletic ability, resilience, grit, and relentless work ethic set him apart. I and many others looked to him as a role model,” Washington president Jason Wright said in a statement. “The fact that he was tragically taken so early hurt our player community, but also our fans, coaches, and staff. We will continue to remember him and hold him up as an example of professionalism and excellence, and we will all strive to mirror his excellence in our own ways.”

Backlash on social media hit quickly, with questions and skepticism around the timing of the Taylor recognition. The team had not previously disclosed the plans to honor Taylor.

Thursday’s news came in the midst of another wave of negative publicity regarding the team’s past workplace environment.

The workplace-related investigation is back in the spotlight as media discovery of disgraced former Raiders coach Jon Gruden, who resigned earlier this week, dominates the news cycle. The Wall Street Journal and New York Times reported Gruden sent several offensive email messages, which included photos of topless women, and multiple examples of extreme racist and bigoted language, to former Washington executive Bruce Allen.
Washington addressed the relatively short notice of the announcement with a statement on Thursday.

“We have been planning this weekend’s tribute to Sean Taylor since before the start of the season in partnership with Sean Taylor’s family and as part of our Alumni weekend activities,” the team said. “We are looking forward to the opportunity to rededicate Sean Taylor Road with Sean Taylor’s friends, family and team alumni and are excited to officially retire his jersey during the game with our fans and alumni present as part of our Alumni Homecoming Weekend activities.

“We apologize to fans who would have liked more notice and will continue to share with fans ways we will be celebrating Sean Taylor’s legacy over the next month.”

Taylor wore No. 36 during his rookie season with Washington after the club selected him with the fifth overall pick of the 2004 NFL Draft. He switched to No. 21 the following year.

A two-time Pro Bowl selection, Taylor recorded 305 tackles, 12 interceptions, eight forced fumbles and one fumble recovery in 55 career games (53 starts) with Washington.

–Field Level Media

Tim Tebow of Her Song makes remarks about a new series of partnerships to fight human trafficking announced by Gov. Bill Lee during a press conference at the State Capitol Thursday, May 13, 2021 in Nashville, Tenn.

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No. 85 is No. 1: Tim Tebow jerseys top sales chart

Consumers apparently are happy Tim Tebow is back in the NFL.

About 24 hours after his signing was announced by the Jacksonville Jaguars, apparel bearing Tebow’s name and number 85 was the top seller at NFL Shop.com.

In fact, the top five items belonged to Tebow: black alternate jerseys for men, women and children, as well as T-shirts for men and women.

A red Tampa Bay Buccaneers jersey with the name and number of perpetual best seller Tom Brady fell to ninth on the list of top sellers.

And in between Tebow and Brady? Rookie quarterback Justin Fields of the Chicago Bears, whose jersey was a top seller in all three of the team’s colors: alternate orange, navy and white.

Tebow, the former Heisman Trophy winner, spent three seasons in the NFL (2010-12) at quarterback with the Denver Broncos and New York Jets. After failing to sign an NFL contract, he turned to baseball, where he spent four seasons in the New York Mets system before retiring in February.

Now, at 33, he’ll be trying to land a spot on the Jaguars roster at a new position: tight end. Jacksonville coach Urban Meyer coached Tebow in college at Florida.

NFL Network reported Friday that Tebow signed a one-year, $920,000 contract, with no guaranteed money and an injury split.

–Field Level Media

Jan 24, 2020; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA;  New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning poses for photos with his wife Abby and their children at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports

Ole Miss postpones Manning jersey retirement

Ole Miss postponed the jersey retirement of Eli Manning until next season.

The school was scheduled to retire their former quarterback’s No. 10 in ceremonies on Saturday. The postponement was announced on Monday, with Ole Miss citing “the circumstances surrounding this football season.”

Manning, now 39, played for the Rebels from 2000-03 and won the Maxwell Award in his final season, given annually to the best all-around player in college football. He was the No. 1 pick in the 2004 NFL Draft and led the New York Giants to two Super Bowl championships before retiring at the end of the 2019 season.

At Ole Miss, he set or tied 47 single-game, season and career school records. He still holds school career records of 10,119 passing yards and 81 touchdowns.

Manning finished third in the 2003 Heisman Trophy voting, passing for 3,600 yards, 29 touchdowns and 10 interceptions that season for the 10-3 Rebels.

He will join his father, Archie Manning (No. 18), and defensive back Chucky Mullins (38) as the only Rebels players to have their numbers retired.

Mullins was left paralyzed by an injury suffered in a game against Vanderbilt on Oct. 28, 1989. He died less than two years later.

–Field Level Media