Redskins safety Ryan Clark will wear jersey No. 25 on Sundays. But he’ll wear No. 21 the rest of the week to, in his words, keep alive the memory of the late Sean Taylor.
“I like starting the conversation,” Clark said this week. “It’s a good reminder for me, which I really don’t need, because I think of him every day.”
Clark played with Taylor in 2004 and 2005, making 22 starts alongside him during their time together in the Redskins’ secondary. The two developed a tight bond on and off the field.
After Taylor died from a gunshot wound he suffered during a home invasion in 2007, Clark, then a member of the Steelers, began wearing Taylor’s No. 21 to practice in Pittsburgh. He decided to continue honoring his good friend upon returning to Washington this offseason—but only after receiving permission from, Jackie, Taylor's longtime girlfriend and mother of his daughter, and team owner Dan Snyder.
“It starts conversations,” Clark continued. “People ask me why do you wear it? And how you feel about wearing it? So I get to talk about Sean and then it starts more conversations about him. It’s my way of keeping his name in the consciousness. It’s my way of making people have reason to talk about him.”
In practice, Taylor also wears a black and gold towel that hangs from his waist. The towel is emblazoned with Taylor’s nickname and jersey number.
“I got it the year he passed and I just kept it,” Clark said. “Since we do have gold in our colors, I can wear it until I can get a new one. It’s something that matters to me.”