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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

November 27-- The Day at Redskins Park after the Taylor tragedy

I guess I'm not even sure where to begin to describe the scene at Redskins Park on what ended up being a extraordinarily tragic day.

The team began the process of unfurling a black cloth over the "Washington Redskins" sign at the front of the building, they never actually covered the sign but the message was obvious..
Jason Campbell was one of the two players who addressed the media. Due to the large number of reporters at Redskins Park, his statement was given outside the building and he did not take questions. Still, within his :90 he nearly broke down in tears and when he was about to lose his compsoure, the Redskins staff member who escorted him ended the statement.. Reed Doughty also spoke of the impact of losing a teammate at the age of 24..

Dan Snyder and Joe Gibbs held a press conference together to discuss their experiences of the past two days and where the team goes from here.. Snyder was outwardly distraught speaking of how porud he was of "the man" Sean Taylor was becoming. He was guarded in terms of discussing the intimate discussions he had with the family and other league officials..

As of now, the two home games scheduled for the next ten games will go forward as planned, but I did ask Gibbs if he wanted to play this weekend, he took a long pause and said "sometimes you are obligated to do things you might not want to do." The team is scheduled to return toi the practice field tomorrow and the locker room is scheduled to be open as usual so we shall see how the bulk of the team responds as they attempt to prepare for the game with Buffalo..

Gibbs and Snyder both emphasized Taylor's growth as a person more so then what his talents were on the field.. Gibbs said Taylot had become more religious in recent months attending "every chapel service" and said he believes that through his relationship with "the Lord he is now in a better place." Gibbs again cited the birth of his now 18 month old daughter as the integral moment that may have changed Taylor for the better..

Clinton Portis reportedly wants to change his number to 21 for the rest of the season. I'm uncertain if he will be allowed to do so.. The team will wear a patch on their jersey and stickers on their helmets to memorialize Taylor.. Over 60 stickers were expected to be shipped to Dallas after the Cowboys called wanting to honor Taylor by wearing the stickers on their helmets for their Thursday night game against Green Bay. Snyder said that every team in the league may end up doing the same..

There was pure grief prevalent throughout the building, team officials hugging each other after staff meetings.. I lost it myself a few times, even on the air.. As I was leaving the Park, at least 300 people had gathered for a candlelight vigil in honor of Taylor and two memorials were being set up for fans to express their sorrow, one near the Hall of Fame store at Fed Ex Field and another painted number 21 in a grassy section on the property at Redskin park outside the main gate.. Funeral arrangements were no clear at the time that I am writing this but the team is hopeful to go as a group to Florida to attend.. It will obviously be dependent on schedule..

Gibbs said he had no further knowledge as to why Taylor had returned to Miami for a second straight week but said Taylor was not breaking a team policy by leaving on Sunday despite his injured status.. He did not go with the team to Tampa due to a sprained knee suffered in the Philadelphia game..

I think it is worth emphasizing the INCREDIBLE job Kevin Sheehan did this afternoon on the radio.. Gary Braun, Riggo, Larry Michael, Chris Johnson, Brian Corson, Tod Castleberry, everyone involved today with dealing with this subject was beyond professional and extremely compelling. IT was an honor to work alongside everyone at Redskins Radio today and couldn't be more proud of my colleagues.. Having hosted extended coverage of tragedy (maybe not this severe before) I can't explain to you from the broadcasters point of view how mentally taxing it can be to disseminate the information in a deliberate and forthcoming manner, in that regard, Kevin was extraordinary..

Here's to better days..

Bram

5 Comments:

Blogger Christa said...

Bram - great job covering this absolutely stunning and tragic news. You all did a wonderful job on Redskins Radio today, and the fans appreciate your dedication and professionalism under absolutely horrible circumstances.

God bless Sean Taylor. May he rest in peace.

8:00 PM  
Blogger gibby1 said...

Bram,
I am a loyal reader of your blog, but rarely make comments.. I had an idea for a tribute to S.T. and wanted to get it to someone that at least had the ear of people at park.. Here it is do with it what you like: Whatever happens at the opening coin toss on sunday the skins kick off.. Hopefully they lose the coin flip, so they can be the 1st NFL team in the past 30 years to defer the kickoff, and start on defense.. Bills let the ball roll into the endzone for a touch back. Skins let the Bills start on the 21 yardline, 1st and 9.. Crazy idea i know, but if you think it has legs run with it.. Thanks for your hard work and time! I will be tuned in tomorrow for all your insight!

8:32 PM  
Blogger JimmyMac said...

Riggo went over the top during the show yesterday with three comments....

- He compared the feelings he experienced in regard to Sean Taylor's tragic death to those he felt following 9/11. Seems to me I recall a recent criticism leveled at a college football coach by Riggo for comparing his team's loss to 9/11. Recommendation - don't compare anything to 9/11!

- Riggo alluded to the Redskins forfeiting the remainder of their season because of Taylor's death. While that might be a good idea, come on….

- The last one is most offensive and DEMANDS an apology. Riggo compared what he believed was Sean Taylor's last act of protecting his family to what our sons and daughters who wear our Nation's uniform are doing in Iraq. That is offensive and deserves an apology. Jumping out of bed at the sound of an intruder in your home, locking the door, and arming yourself is a reflexive act which most people would have. Selflessly volunteering to serve your country at great personal risk and sacrifice is an act of courage and heroism. It is one of the most sacred acts of patriotism our country knows. To compare it to protecting your family and home from an intruder is absurd and offensive! Riggo owes our brave men and women in uniform an apology.

I sent this to Riggo's e-mail address. You might want to too.

7:29 AM  
Blogger Kicha said...

I not only listened to you but watched you thru-out yesterday. Redskins Radio, Comcast Sports, and Out of Bounds.

You as well as your colleagues have done and are doing a tremendous job. I recall you just coming off a cold too -- and there you are talking to the masses from your hear.

God Speed to all of us Skins fans. Not only football fans -- but because we realize that a young man's life was tragically taken away.

You know - Riggo mentioned how Sean died a hero. He stopped the assailant from harming his fiancee and daughter. The thing that gets me thru this is thinking how Sean would have felt if God forbid something had happened to them instead of him.

Take care Bram

9:36 AM  
Blogger Covering The Redskins said...

Thank you all for your kind words.. This has been an inordinately tough few days here covering this tragedy..

As for the one idea about the toss, while a nice gesture.. If you defer the coin toss, you can't choose to receive thus giving the ball to Buffalo twice, a bad idea..

Thanks again to all and I will keep you informed as best as possible..
You can e-mail me directly as always at bram@bramshow.com

12:05 PM  

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