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Safety Matters: Taylor Joins Redskins Elite

Posted Feb 2, 2011

Sean Taylor ended a long safety drought for Redskins at the Pro Bowl, notes Casey Husband. Redskins 2007 | Taylor to Pro Bowl

When Sean Taylor was named to replace Philadelphia’s Brian Dawkins as one of the NFC’s 2007 Pro Bowl representatives, it ended a long drought of sorts for the Redskins.

To find the last time a Redskins safety has made it to Pro Bowl status, you’d have to go back almost a quarter of a century.

In 1983, in fact, free safety Mark Murphy was one of seven Redskins who earned the right to go to Honolulu. The other six were center Jeff Bostic, wide receiver Charlie Brown, defensive tackle Dave Butz, guard Russ Grimm, tackle Joe Jacoby and quarterback Joe Theismann.

With the Redskins, Murphy played in Super Bowl XVII and Super Bowl XVIII. He was a key figure in the Redskins’ 27-17 Super Bowl XVII win over Miami, coming up with a second half interception of Miami’s David Woodley.

Now the athletic director at Northwestern, Murphy had his best season in 1983, when he led the NFL with nine interceptions.

When the Redskins announced their 70 Greatest team in 2002, only three safeties made the list--Murphy, Paul Krause (1964-67) and Ken Houston (1973-80).

Krause, an eight-time Pro Bowler, went on to star with the Minnesota Vikings from 1968-79. He ended up in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Houston, a seven-time Pro Bowler, is responsible for one of the most important tackles in Redskins history, stopping Walt Garrison of the Cowboys at the 1-yard line in 1973 in a 14-7 Washington win.

When Taylor found out that he would be participating in Saturday’s Pro Bowl, it basically represented his first major NFL accolade.

He joins left tackle Chris Samuels as Redskins representatives. It’s the fourth time Samuels has been chosen.

Ironically, Taylor may have had his best year in 2005, his second in the NFL after the Redskins drafted him in the first round (fifth overall) of the 2004 NFL Draft.

In 2005, Taylor was dominant down the stretch in leading the Redskins to a five-game winning streak and a playoff berth. He finished with 80 tackles, one interception and three forced fumbles.

Taylor returned two fumbles for touchdowns in consecutive weeks, one to secure a playoff-clinching win over Philadelphia and the other to help the Redskins to a Wild Card playoff win over Tampa Bay.

Perhaps one day Taylor will be mentioned with Murphy. Krause and Houston, or maybe even surpass them, as the top player at the position in team history.

For now, with this week’s trip to Hawaii, he’s at least in the conversation.

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