Linebacker London Fletcher and safety Sean Taylor have been named co-recipients of The Quarterback Club Redskins Player of the Year award for the 2007 season.
Fletcher received the award Tuesday night at The Quarterback Club's annual Player of the Year banquet, where Taylor was also honored posthumously.
It was an emotional evening that included a moving video tribute to Taylor, who was represented by his father, Pedro "Pete" Taylor, and his fiancï¿½, Jackie Garcia.
Fletcher spoke glowingly of his fallen teammate after earning the award over the three other nominees: tight end Chris Cooley (also a nominee in 2006), quarterback Jason Campbell and kick returner Rock Cartwright.
"Sean was one of the three best players I've ever played with, and I've been in the National Football League 10 years," Fletcher told an enthusiastic audience at the Sheraton Premiere Hotel in Vienna, Va.
"The other two are going to be Hall of Fame players in Marshall Faulk and Aeneas Williams. I feel cheated that Sean left me. I played only nine games with him. When I first saw some of his highlight tapes, I was saying, 'Wow, this guy is awesome.'"
Fletcher played with Faulk, a running back, and Williams, a defensive back, during parts of his four seasons with the St. Louis Rams (1998-2001).
Pedro Taylor thanked the Washington-area community for its outpouring of support after his son was shot and killed in his home in Miami late last month.
"We have been so, so blessed," he said. "The prayers, everything that you have done for us, we are appreciative."
He added: "Sean said he had 11 of the best guys in front of him, 22 surrounding him, but he had 53 great guys on the team, another 10 on the practice squad. He had coaches and players. He had a staff that loved him. We say thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We love you, burgundy and gold, hail to the Redskins."
Despite playing less than four seasons for the Redskins, Taylor will go down as one of the most talented pure athletes to ever don the burgundy and gold.
Switched to free safety to accommodate rookie LaRon Landry at strong safety, he was having a breakout year until suffering a knee injury against the Eagles on Nov. 11, in what would be his last game in the NFL.
He had five interceptions and was busy delivering his patented bone-shattering hits. Two of his picks came against legendary Packers quarterback Brett Favre. Taylor was all over the field against Green Bay and conceivably could have had five interceptions that day.
Sidelined by the knee injury, Taylor was sorely missed. After he left the Eagles game in the third quarter, quarterback Donovan McNabb threw three scoring passes, including a 45-yarder to a spot where Taylor would have been, in a 33-25 Eagles win.
The next week, Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo and Terrell Owens connected on four scoring passes, including two down the middle to Taylor's regular zone, in a 28-23 Dallas victory.
Fletcher, signed as a free agent last March, has been everything the Redskins have asked for and more. With a nose for the football, he's the fifth-leading tackler in the NFL (112) and always seems to be in the thick of the action.
He also has three interceptions and returned one 27 yards for a touchdown in a 21-19 victory over the Cardinals on Oct. 21.
The ironman has played in 116 straight games, despite the pounding his body has taken over the years.
Fletcher's play has been key to the Redskins' defense rebounding from a ranking of 31st last season.
As the team's first prototype middle linebacker since Antonio Pierce in 2004, he's displayed excellent leadership skills and has been a quarterback for defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. It helps that he played on two Super Bowl teams in St. Louis, including a Rams squad that captured Super Bowl XXXIV.
"I just want to thank The Quarterback Club and everybody else who voted for me," Fletcher said. "It's truly an honor and privilege. We have three other candidates that easily could have won this award. I thought Cooley or Rock or Jason was going to be the guy. I didn't think it was going to be me. So I'm extremely humbled."
This is the fifth time that two Redskins have shared The Quarterback Club Player of the Year award: 1976 (Len Hauss and Pat Fischer), 1982 (John Riggins and Mark Moseley), 1986 (Jay Schroeder and Dexter Manley) and 1998 (Darrell Green and Brian Mitchell).
Michael Richman is the author of The Redskins Encyclopedia, a 432-page book that spans the 75-year history of the storied franchise. His Web site is www.redskinshistorian.com.