A Shout Out To Redskins PR/L.Coles Reacts To Sean
I just wanted to take a minute to thank the Redskins - and particularly the PR staff - for their diligence, assistance and professionalism in helping us cover this tragedy. It was horrible for everyone involved, and particularly draining for them, and they spent endless days and nights doing their part. They went above and beyond the call and, while pained by the loss of a friend, still produced the best work I have ever seen in 12 years of covering pro sports.
They were put in a difficult position of having to balance the media's obvious need to report this story rapidly and accurate to a public starved for information on a very beloved public figure, with their own organization's need to respect the privacy and wishes of those most hurt by this event. They handled it with aplomb. Chris Helein, vice president of public relations, and his staff - Will Norman, Shelby Morrison and Brian Hosmer - along with their interns, deserve major kudos.
The very nature of my job often puts me in an adversarial position with them - if there are no differences of opinion between the beat guy and the PR guy from time to time, then the beat guy must not be working too hard - but it's never personal, and I think I can speak for the hundreds of media schlubs out here the past 48 hours that they have been an asset to us all.
Okay, here's some stuff my man Ohm Youngmisuk, who covers the NFL for the NY Daily News, sent my way from Jets WR Laveranues Coles, who was with the Redskins in 2004, Sean's rookie season, and shared the locker next to him at Redskins Park (that locker is now occupied by Santana Moss).
On the death of Sean Taylor:
"We all lost a good friend. He is a guy who I remember when he first walked through the doors (in Washington) and just being close with him. He kind of reminded me of myself. He came in and didn't trust very many people. He was a good guy once you actually got through the tough shell. He was a caring person, a fun guy and a great guy to be around. I know that I'm going to miss him. I was thinking of the other day when we played them and how he hugged me at the game. It is very touching. It is hard to say. He was just 24-years-old. It is something that hurts all of us."
On whether he kept in touch with Taylor after he left Washington:
"We hadn't really talked much. I saw him at a boxing match or something and we hugged then. I changed my (phone) number as I always do and we didn't give our information then. Later on, after the game, I tried to give him my information. We caught up, talked a little bit, but nothing major. We always checked to see how each other was doing. Now he is gone and it is difficult.
"It teaches you about life and how we always take things for granted. In the sport that we are in, you don't get the opportunity to tell people that you truly care about them, that you love them, because it doesn't seem like such a macho thing to do. If I could say anything, it is to always tell people that you truly care about that you love them when you have the opportunity because you never know when they are going to be gone."
Jason La Canfora
November 28, 2007; 9:35 PM ET
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