How can Redskins deal with Taylor tragedy?

Nobody should have to go through what the Washington Redskins are going through this week.

But the Denver Broncos already have, losing cornerback Darrent Williams on New Year's Day a mere 11 months ago, the first of two young talented defensive backs to die way too young. Both were 24.

It is why on Tuesday, shortly before Sean Taylor passed away, Redskins owner Daniel Snyder called Broncos owner Pat Bowlen to see how to handle the worst situation imaginable.

"I could only tell him what we did, I can't tell him what to do," Bowlen recounted. "They're different circumstances at different times, but they both boil down to the same thing. We each had a player murdered. And in a case like this, you have to do the right thing."

The right thing means honoring Taylor's memory in ways the Redskins will.

The right thing means transporting the entire team to Taylor's on Monday, as the Broncos did with their team when Williams died.

The right thing means afixing Taylor's number 21 to the team's helmets, as Denver did with Williams' No. 27.

Each team has battled an inordinate amount of grief over the past season. Almost two months after losing Williams, Denver running back Damien Nash suffered a heart attack and died, forcing the Broncos to attend yet another funeral.

Washington has endured its own horrific year. In January, Redskins coach Joe Gibbs revealed that his 2-year-old grandson Taylor contracted leukemia. Former Redskins linebacker Kevin Mitchell, 36, went into cardiac arrest in April and died. And then, in June, the team's nutritionist, Ann Litt, suffered a ruptured bowel and passed away.

Eventually the sadness will subside, but only in time.

"We've dealt with it as an organization and we've done our best to put it behind us," Bowlen said. "Darrent and Damien are on everybody's mind, but after a while you have to let that go. You can't keep carrying the grief. But with this situation, you just hate to see it happen."

Tears for the U

Two of the saddest stories of the season, with two different outcomes, have an eerie connection.

At the University of Miami, Taylor was teammates with tight end Kevin Everett. Those were happier days than these.

On opening day, Everett sustained a life-threatening injury, fracturing and dislocating his cervical spine. Everett eventually regained movement in his arms and legs, giving doctors and others hope that the former tight end will walk again.

Now, even eerier, as Washington attempts to play its first game since this week's murder, Taylor's former Redskins team plays Everett's former Bills team.

The cost of life

There is no way to measure the value of human life. But after Taylor's murder, some players are doing what they can to try.

Rich "Big Daddy" Salgado, president and CEO of the Long-Island based company Coastal Advisors LLC, said that after Taylor was killed, about 30 NFL players contacted him to write and review life insurance policies, and make sure they were protected and up to date on their insurance needs.

Player reaction was immediate. Salgado is scheduled to fly Thursday to the Bay Area to write policies for 49ers tight end Vernon Davis and Raiders safety Michael Huff, two former first-round picks.

"Players are saying, 'I'm O.K., and I want to make sure my families are O.K.,' " Salgado said. "This is a tragic event that has gotten the attention of players."

Extra points

» File this under the Sliding Doors of Life theory. If Taylor hadn't hurt his knee, he would not have missed Sunday's game against Tampa. And if Taylor hadn't missed Sunday's game at Tampa, he wouldn't have been at his house in the Miami area. And if Taylor hadn't been at his house, he still would be here today. So sad.

» Sliding Doors II: Not long ago, Taylor used to have pit bulls at his Miami residence. But after the Michael Vick saga, Taylor -– along with many other players -– got rid of the pit bulls that some used for protection. Without protection from his pets, Taylor was left more vulnerable.

» Speaking of Vick, his attorneys will be representing him in the same Minneapolis courthouse in which NFL players were granted free agency. Vick is appealing the ruling from University of Pennsylvania law professor Stephen Burbank that he must pay back $20 million of bonuses the Falcons have paid him. The appeal will be held Friday.

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