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NFL Twitter criticizes timing of Washington football team’s decision to recall No. 21 jersey

The Washington soccer team made an announcement Thursday that many fans felt was late. The team will retire the No. 21 jersey.

Taylor’s number will be retired as part of Sunday’s game against the Chiefs at FedEx Field, as Washington announced on its official Twitter account.

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Taylor was the fifth pick in the 2004 NFL Draft and played 55 games for Washington. He totaled 305 tackles, 12 interceptions, 43 passing defenses, eight forced fumbles and two sacks during his three-and-a-half-season career. He made the Pro Bowl in each of his last two seasons and is known for his huge success over Bills punter Brian Moorman in that contest.

Sadly, Taylor’s life and career were cut short as he was assassinated in November 2007 after thieves broke into his Miami home. They shot him in the leg during the robbery and cut his femoral artery. He was only 24 years old.

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Taylor was on his way to becoming one of the best safeties in the NFL. He had five interceptions in nine games in 2007 at the time of his death. He was also a fan favorite, so it’s easy to understand why Washington is retiring his number.

However, the team has come under fire for the timing of the announcement. The NFL is currently embroiled in a scandal stemming from 650,000 emails generated from an investigation into Washington’s workplace culture under owner Dan Snyder. The emails, most of which were correspondence with GM / team president Bruce Allen for a decade, have led to the departure of Jon Gruden from the Raiders and criticism of ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Many NFL personalities and members of the media took to Twitter and said the announcement felt like an attempt to distract from Washington’s involvement in that scandal. They also noted that Washington gave months ‘notice for the recall of Bobby Mitchell’s jersey last year, while giving just days’ notice of Taylor’s ceremony.

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Washington addressed the speculation shortly after its announcement, explaining that the event had been in the works for weeks.

“We apologize to fans who would have liked more notice and will continue to share with fans the ways we will celebrate Sean Taylor’s legacy over the next month,” said a team spokesperson, per Matthew Paras.

Team president Jason Wright also apologized for the “short notice” given regarding the removal of Taylor’s jersey.

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