News | Washington Commanders -

Williams Had a Unique Bond With Taylor

Redskins assistant head coach-defense Gregg Williams coached Sean Taylor all four years he was in Washington, D.C., and the two developed a mutual respect for each other. In an emotional media session on Thursday, Williams spoke about his unique relationship with Taylor:

-- On Sean Taylor's Playing Style:

"There are a lot of things that you struggle with and think about. The one thing that is most comforting about it is that he always loved getting in between the white lines.

"The thing that I think he respected most about me is we were both a certain way outside the white lines, but inside the white lines there is only one way to play and that is all out.

"I've had to work very, very hard throughout my coaching career to try to speed people up, to try find another way to get more aggressiveness, to find another way to ask you do more. I never had to ask him. Never. When he hit ground here in Ashburn, he was full speed, full throttle, full competition at every point in time.

"If there was a marquee player on the other side of the field, he wanted that matchup. We talk a lot about in competition about who wants the ball at the end of the game. Who wants the last shot? Who wants the last tackle?

"Twenty-one wanted it. At some point in time, at the sacrifice of the defense, he would go get that particular player because of that. I have a tremendous admiration because of that kind of a spirit.

"Like I said, he'll be with me from now on."

-- On How to Deal With Losing Sean Taylor

"It's not easy losing him. I don't that think you ever get over it. The big thing is I know he is going to measure me every single day. I think that strength I get from him--we shared that strength with each other.

"I didn't know whether I would share this with you or not, but one of the things that I do on the sideline with him is, sometimes you guys would see me getting into it with him on the sideline. I would be losing it and I would just be on him trying to get a different focus back with him.

"He could see me losing it a little bit, pretty upset. He would look at me and smile and say, 'Hey, Coach, that play is over, get on to the next one.' He would immediately put me right back into it--I have a job to do, too. I have to get right back there and go.

"We had a synergy back and forth in those difficult times. We built that trust and love for each other in the difficult times so that there was an ever-stronger bond in some of the less stressful periods of time. He was a special young man."

-- On How to Go From Grieving to Playing Football Again:

"The story I shared a moment ago, I'll put it in full context now. When I got the phone call after I fell asleep at the house, and I heard he passed, I was grieving strongly. You know, I felt a presence. The presence I felt was, 'Coach, that play is over, get on the next. I'm watching you.'

"So I have a job to do. Get on to the next. He's watching me."

-- On Moving Forward:

"The one thing that I'm at peace with is I know Sean wants us to play. He'll be with me for the rest of my career.

"I know he is always going to be pestering me, wanting to go back in. When he pesters me, he doesn't want to go back in and just play it safe. He wants to go back in and be right in the middle of the toughest action there is.

"That's how we'll handle it. That's how I'll handle it.

"You all had a chance to see his competitive spirit and sometimes misunderstood spirit. I always saw the big heart from the first time he came in here.

"I always saw his love for kids, his love for my own kids. I have three kids that are very, very close to him. It has been devastating to them."

-- On How he Earned Sean Taylor's Trust and Respect

"A large part of his life was about earning and gaining respect and about trust. All of us throw that word around a little bit. All of us have percentages put on it. He had one type of percentage: 100 percent. Those are things that are built every day.

"With Sean, the trust part of it is that you can't take a step backwards because you lose trust and you never regain trust. You guys didn't get a chance behind the scenes to see how smart he was. Even though we questioned some of the [actions] there at times, he had a very good sense of people and reading people.

"I don't know when he was able to trust me. I think some of the tough times when I backed some of his goofy decisions and some of the things that we had to do behind the scenes from a tough love standpoint.

"I do know this, there were a couple times when I drew lines in the sand that he appreciated that toughness and that discipline. He needed that.

"To his credit he made some tremendous, tremendous life maturations. I feel real good. I can lay my head down and know that a couple of those things I asked him to do, he did it."

-- On Changes In Sean Taylor After He Became a Father

"It was huge. That was just on more step of maturation for him.

"You're always looking for teachable moments as a parent, as a coach, as any type of a leader and all of a sudden now, when I could relate some decisions back to him and some examples back to him that I would want him to change or correct, I said, 'You're a father now, you deal with it. You're having the same conversations a few years from now that I'm having with you.'

"It was interesting to see that light click on in his head in wanting to be a really, really good example. Hopefully you guys have a ton of footage of those moments.

"When he wouldn't talk to you guys after training camp, who did he stop and talk to? Everyday he stopped and talked to the kids. Everyday in training camp.

"When he talked to the kids, it wasn't, 'Hey will you guys look at me talk to these kids?' He was trying to be as inconspicuous as he could because he didn't want the kids to feel anything other than he wanted to talk to them. He wanted to make sure that they got the experience.

"He felt the experience would change if [the media] got involved. Obviously the birth of his daughter was another step. It's unfortunate. It will be hard for her to remember."

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content