Players Return

AP Images - Pablo Martinez Monsivais

The Redskins returned to practice today. Which meant Danny Smith shouted instructions at the top of his lungs, his voice growing hoarse.

And players yelled audibles or barked out their own orders. And it meant some players occasionally laughed or smiled.

It did not mean that life had returned to normal for the Redskins. That day remains far away.

"There was nothing normal about today," Redskins linebacker London Fletcher said. "We had meetings; it was practice, but it wasn't the same type of feeling. We tried to make it the same as possible, but you found yourself thinking about Sean, imagining him out on the field playing free safety."

Sean Taylor's death will impact them for quite a while, obviously. Teammates who spoke about a changed man were not just saying that because he had died. Most had said the same things for months. That's part of why it hurt them so much, because they saw someone who really wanted to escape one part of his life and become an even better person.

And that knowledge lingered with them today as well. There was an emotional meeting this morning when Taylor's fiance, Jackie Garcia, and his father, Pedro, spoke to the team. Garcia's message was to not take family for granted and to cherish each moment. Taylor's dad talked about Sean and what he would want and how he wanted the team to win. Not for Sean, but for themselves.

"A lot of times in situations like this no one really knows what to say or how to act or what to do," linebacker Marcus Washington said. "A lot of times you might just sit with your teammates or coaches and you may not say anything, but just knowing someone else is there and feeling some of the same feelings that you're going through ...

"It was kind of tough. Sometimes you zone out here a little bit and just think about Sean. I think everybody was feeling the same way."

Taylor's funeral will be at 11 a.m. Monday at Florida International University. As of now, there's no plan to change next week's game against Chicago, scheduled for a Thursday.

"The team wants to play this weekend," end Phillip Daniels said. "The only way we can honor Sean Taylor is to go out and play. He would want us to give it our all and play. Right now, he's the 12th man on the field. It's going to be hard not having him in the huddle." At this point, Daniels' voice cracked.

"Before when he was hurt you knew he was coming back at the end of the season to help us out and help us make that run. Now he's not coming back and that's the toughest thing, knowing he won't ever be back in the huddle. We love him and we'll play as hard as we can and honor him the best way we can."

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