It Still Hurts. . .

by Eric Espada
Special for Hailmagazine.com

For the several months I have wondered what is going to be my first post on my brand new blog. I always wondered if anyone besides my Mom cared about what I had to say. I thought, maybe Ill write about a cool trip I took or write about a great game I shot. Every time I thought about it, it just didn’t seem right. But this morning was different. I woke up and I felt I needed to write something about Sean.

Im not a writer by any stretch of the imagination. I write with the photos I take and I took a lot of photos of Sean. Sean was one of my favorite Canes to shoot. Since 2002 I have been part of the Caneshooter team along with JC Ridley and since 2004 have covered the Washington Redskins.

There were lots of things I loved about Sean. I loved the variety of shields he wore to cover his eyes, whether it was the orange colored shield or the reflective shield. It gave him this Darth Vader type look and feel. I loved that you couldn’t see his eyes and all you saw was the reflection of the sky or of the Orange Bowl every time you looked at him. I also loved the crazy hairstyles that Sean had. It seemed like it changed weekly or for every game. And I loved the way he played the game. I quickly became a fan of Seans.

Four years ago today Sean Taylor passed away and to this day it still hurts. . .

Sean and I weren’t best friends, we weren’t related, but we were family. Sean and I were part of the Miami Hurricane Family. Its extremely difficult to explain to anyone what its like to be a part of the Hurricane Family. Imagine the love you have for your family and multiply it by 1000. Since I have been a part of this family I lost 6 of my Hurricane family members. Marlin Barnes, Robert Woodus, Chris Campbell, Al Blades, Bryan Pata and Sean Taylor. Robert died in a plane crash, Chris and Al were both killed in car accidents and Marlin, Bryan and Sean were each murdered. I have lost more members of my Hurricane Family than I have of my immediate family and it hurts each time I think of them.

With Sean its a little different. I covered almost every game Sean played at the University of Miami and every game but 1 when he played for the Washington Redskins. I have always felt a weird connection to Sean. As Sean was becoming this larger than life figure on the football field, I was there from the start growing as a photographer. Sean gave me some of the best photos I have ever taken. Sean cutting in front of Larry Fitzgerald for an Interception and him diving for a ball against the Arizona Cardinals are two photos that hang on my office wall. Every time I needed a big photo I knew I could count on Sean. He was a playmaker and I could see his game growing each and every time he stepped on the field.

You can see in this video that I created what I mean about Sean and all of the big plays that he gave me throughout my photography career. There are a lot of tribute videos out there but this one is different. All of the photos taken in this video were taken by me from 2003-2007. This is a small sample of the photos I have taken of Sean but it gives you a great idea of why I loved taking photos of Sean in action.

Thank you Sean for allowing me the opportunity to capture some of the greatest plays in Hurricanes and Redskins history.

We miss you ST.
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