Remembering 21: Santana Moss
Like Clinton Portis, Santana Moss was close to Sean Taylor; the three had ties through the University of Miami. Barry Svrluga spoke with Moss on Wednesday about Taylor.
"Honestly, I'm a guy, I'm a firm believer of letting time deal with itself and letting whatever happens happen when that time comes. It's hard for me to speak about what might take place this Sunday, but I'm very sure that it's going to be a lot of emotion just knowing what's going to be taking place that day, the game itself. With that in mind, I hope we all go out there and play lights-out football like Sean would've played. That's some of the things that I say this year. Every game, when it gets to a critical situation, you know, I'm looking up there just knowing that this is a critical time, this is a moment that 21 would've done something."
"You just want to go out there and be the best that you can be this day, on his day, and go out there and give the fans a memory of what we did on that field that day, and what went on that day when it comes to Sean."
On the Ring of Fame: "It's an honor. He's one of those guys that, no doubt, if he had continued to be the player that he has been, a Pro Bowler, he would have been a consecutive Pro Bowler, Hall of Famer type guy. And you know no doubt he would have probably been in the Ring of Honor as far as the Redskins. To me, in the short career that he had in this league, he played lights-out football like nobody on his level played. There's guys before him that has played that kind of football. He's a guy before his time."
"You always hear about people coming before their time or being gone before their time, you always talk about them because they're not here. It's sad to say. They just gave us those memories that there was something special about them, and he's one of those guys. I'm pretty sure that he would have had a lot more accolades added on to what he had done thus far. But all we can do right now is what we can do."
On whether he will always raise a "2-1" with his fingers when he scores: "Yeah. It's not just when I score. I do it just do it on catches or whenever I come out. Like I said before, I'm going to play football for him. Not saying that that's something that, 'Oh, it's special.' But I think to me it is. Because in the short time that we became friends - people always hear that we went to school together. We didn't go to school together; we played for the same school, but we didn't go to school together. But when I'm out there in the offseason, when I first met the guy, there was something special about him. Then when I became a teammate with him here, he just took me by surprise, just knowing him. The way he cared about the things that he cared about. All the things that he loved, you knew he loved them, or you knew he cared because he showed it, from family to this game. You want to play for somebody like that. you want to be able to keep his memory going because you know that that's the way he played football, that's the way he cared about life. And that's just something that I feel like I should do."
On the upcoming Giants game, the kind of important, hard-hitting game that Taylor particularly loved: "The atmosphere, Sean was the type of guy, the critical games, you best believe that something's going to happen. He's going to make something happen, whether he's going to make an outstanding play as far as defensively tackling somebody, or just pick up a ball that's fumbled or pick off a pass. He's one of those guys, like I said in college, big-time players make big-time plays, he's one of those guys. He's going to be a big-time guy that night or that day. These are the kinds of games that you need to have, especially on a day like this, as far as remembering him, because you know if he was out there, there was going to be something that you talked about that '21' did."
On his memories of the Buffalo game last year, the team's first after Taylor's death: "It went so fast, there was so much on our minds and our hearts. But I feel like our effort was there. We played so hard and we did so many different things. A lot of guys played with the emotion that I probably have never seen from that scene, knowing we all go out there and fight week-in and week-out. But you could tell a lot of guys played for Sean.
"I get wrapped up in saying it, because I don't know how it sounds. But when you say 'you play for somebody,' you got to really know the guy, man. That's why some of the things I talked about last year when he passed, I was upset about a few comments I heard, because if no one's going to speak up about it then you have to speak up about it. If you don't know the person, don't say nothing about him. And even if you know the person, don't feel like you're obligated to say something about him, especially in a negative way. I got kind of emotional about that when I heard some of the things that were said about him, because as a player, even if he wasn't a friend of mine. Even if I just knew him and I was a guy that just walked around this locker room but didn't know him, but I was just in his presence - he made sure that you knew him. It was just by the way he spoke to guys, by the way he went out of his way to say, 'Hey,' to that guy that no one might talk to, he would reach out to him.
"That's the kind of guy he was. It's not hard to play for a guy like that. It's not hard to get up every day, every time you're getting ready to play on a Sunday, thinking about '21.' It's not hard. It's not hard to go to sleep at night saying your prayers and having him in your mind. Regardless of if we went through anything together, as far as from this field to any other thing we did in life, I feel that he touched so many people, to me it's not a question of my mind that I ask myself, 'Why is he being remembered like he is?' Because anybody he had a chance to meet realized what kind of special person he was."
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