Sean Taylor’s legacy runs deep for Rams safeties John Johnson and Jordan Fuller

Washington safety Sean Taylor on the field during a game against the Buccaneers in 2006.
Washington safety Sean Taylor was a fan favorite and a player Rams safeties John Johnson and Jordan Fuller grew up idolizing.
(Matt Stroshane / Getty Images)

Before the season, the Washington Football Team renamed a street that leads to an entrance of FedEx Field as Sean Taylor Road.

The team honored the memory of a safety who starred for Washington from 2004 to 2007. Taylor died during the 2007 season at age 24 when he was shot by an intruder in his home in Florida.

Rams safeties John Johnson and Jordan Fuller grew up idolizing Taylor, a 6-foot-2, 230-pound player who was the fifth pick in the 2004 draft after starring in college at Miami. Taylor, a two-time Pro Bowl selection, intercepted 12 passes in three-plus seasons, and was regarded as one of the league’s most dynamic playmakers.


Rams safety John Johnson is looking forward to playing in Washington this week. Unfortunately, no family or friends will be allowed to attend the game.

Oct. 9, 2020

Johnson, 24, and Fuller, 22, are looking forward to playing in the stadium where Taylor excelled when the Rams (3-1) play Washington (1-3) on Sunday.

Johnson was raised in nearby Hyattsville, Md., and spent his youth as a Dallas Cowboys fan. But affection for Taylor crossed all allegiances, he said.

“He was the safety to us,” Johnson said in a phone interview. “Even though I wasn’t a [Washington] fan, he was the No. 1 safety in my eyes.

“He could just do it all. He was a freak athlete, he hit people, went and got the ball, played special teams — like he clearly could do no wrong. No matter who you were rooting for, like everyone rooted for Sean Taylor.”

Fuller, whose uncle, Brett, serves as Washington’s team chaplain, said Taylor was his and his brother Devin’s favorite player.

Sam Farmer makes his picks and predictions for the remaining slate of games in Week 5 of the 2020 NFL season.

Oct. 9, 2020

“Just the impact he would make on the game,” Fuller said in a phone interview. “He put a lot of fear in offenses and especially QBs’ heads, receivers too, for sure. Just the way he played, it felt like he was everywhere.”


Johnson and Fuller said they remembered where they were Nov. 27, 2007, when they heard Taylor had died. Johnson was at school in Maryland, Fuller was walking home from school in New Jersey.

“One of my brother’s friends told us and were like, ‘No, you’re lying, you’re lying,’” Fuller said. “But, yeah, I remember, for sure.”

Fuller said he was a different player than Taylor, but would like to emulate the effect he had on games.

“Have an offense kind of circle you in the scouting report, kind of stuff like that,” Fuller said. “That’s definitely something I want to be able to do. I want to be that guy.”