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NFL Star, 24, Killed While Protecting His Family from Burglary Will Have Jersey Number Retired by WFT

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Sean Taylor's NFL career was bright before his life was tragically cut short in 2007.

The Washington Football Team is paying tribute to Taylor nearly 15 years after his death by retiring the late safety's jersey number ahead of Sunday's matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs, according to a statement. Nearly 100 alumni will also be honored at FedExField.

It marks only the third time the team has officially retired a number in its 89-year history.

Taylor's family will be in attendance during a pre-game ceremony, in which they will also commemorate the renaming of the road leading to the field as Sean Taylor Road. The family will also have a chance to visit Taylor's locker on the Club Level, which has been preserved since his last game.

RELATED: Football Star Sean Taylor Dies

The Florida native died at age 24 in November 2007, after he was shot in the leg by a burglar in his Miami home while defending his family. Although Taylor was airlifted to Jackson Memorial Hospital, he died the next morning of massive blood loss from a severed femoral artery.

The athlete was Washington's first-round pick as the fifth pick overall in the 2004 NFL draft. Taylor played all four seasons of his NFL career with the team, leading them to their first playoff win in six years. In 2007, he was honored posthumously by the NFL, when he was named a 2nd team All-Pro selection before being inducted as only the 43rd member of the Washington Ring of Fame.

Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor leaves the field after his ejection in an NFL wild card playoff game January 7, 2006 in Tampa.
Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor leaves the field after his ejection in an NFL wild card playoff game January 7, 2006 in Tampa.

Al Messerschmidt/Getty

"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," said Washington Football Team's President Jason Wright 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."

The first 10,000 fans at Sunday's game will receive a limited-edition commemorative Sean Taylor rally towel, inspired by the original rally towel created after Taylor's death. Players will also wear stickers on their helmets in honor of Taylor, and full-time staff will wear a No. 21 lapel pins on game day. Taylor will also appear on the cover of the team's game-day magazine with an article highlighting some of the best plays of his career.

In addition, Washington alumni will complete a community service project in Taylor's name over the weekend at Burrville Elementary School in Washington, D.C., taking part in an OutTeach Garden Build, presented by Pepsi Stronger Together.

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