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Posted on: Friday, February 8, 2008

2008 PRO BOWL
Redskins to honor fallen teammate

By Kyle Sakamoto
Advertiser Staff Writer

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Sean Taylor

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PRO BOWL

What: AFC vs. NFC

Where: Aloha Stadium (50,000)

When: Sunday, 11:30 a.m.

Gates: Parking lot opens 7 a.m.; stadium gates 9 a.m.

Parking: $5 for passenger vehicles, $15 for buses and limos.

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PRO BOWL SOLD OUT

ALTERNATIVE PARKING: Ford Island opens 7 a.m. with free parking and free shuttle; Radford High opens 7 a.m. with parking $5 and no shuttle.

BUS SERVICE: TheBus will offer service to and from selected sites. Fares are $3 each way. Go to www.thebus.org for locations and departure times, or call 848-5555. Roberts Hawai'i will offer continuous shuttle service from Ford Island to outside Richardson Field, starting from 9 a.m. Roberts will not have pickups from Mililani Mauka, Hawai'i Kai or Kailua District Park.

TICKETS: Call Ticketmaster at 877-750-4400 or go to www.ticketmaster.com

TV/RADIO: 11:30 a.m. live on FOX (channel 2, cable 3, digital 003, HD 1003) and on 1420 AM.

PLAYER WINNINGS: $40,000 for each member of winning team; $20,000 to losing team members.

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Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Chris Samuels

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Pedro Taylor had the chance to live every father's dream: watching son Sean Taylor excel at what he loved.

In this case, it was football and Taylor was a star from the time he was a little kid all the way to the highest level.

"Just to watch his dreams come true; from a kid growing up from wanting to be a Pop Warner star to an NFL star. That's just unbelievable," said Pedro Taylor at yesterday's Pro Bowl practice at Kapolei High School.

Taylor likely had many more quality years left at free safety with the Washington Redskins, but on Nov. 27, a day after being shot at his home in Florida, he died at the age of 24.

The tributes for Taylor have been many, and the final one of the season will be Sunday at the Pro Bowl when the three Redskins representatives will wear jersey No. 21 for the NFC.

Offensive tackle Chris Samuels, long snapper Ethan Albright and tight end Chris Cooley will wear No. 21 — Taylor's number for his four seasons with Washington.

"This is an honor that they continue to wear 21 proudly," said Pedro Taylor, who had four children. "It's great that the organization and NFL allowed them to do so."

The three Redskins all agreed Taylor was a quality player and teammate.

"He's definitely supposed to be here before any one of us," Samuels said. "It's going to be a big day for us to honor him."

Albright liked the idea of wearing No. 21 as soon as he heard it.

"When I got the invitation for the Pro Bowl I called the Redskins and they had the idea and I said for sure," he said.

On Sunday, Cooley said he'll give maximum effort to honor his former teammate.

"We're very proud to wear 21. I'm definitely going to play as hard as I can to honor Sean," he said.

Pedro Taylor said his son was very determined, and always accomplished what he put his mind to.

"As a father you always want to see your kids grow up to be like him," he said.

Taylor was the first player voted posthumously to the Pro Bowl. At the time of his death, he led the NFL in interceptions.

Last year, he made the Pro Bowl as an alternate and had the game's signature play: a bone-crunching hit on AFC punter Brian Moorman off a fake late in the third quarter.

One of Taylor's NFC teammates last year was Chicago Bears kick returner Devin Hester. They played one season together at the University of Miami.

"I was looking forward to playing with him in the Pro Bowl again," Hester said. "I was sad to hear what happened and the tragedy and everything. I feel sorry for his family, his wife and kids. My prayers go out to his family and they can handle the situation."

The Dallas Cowboys' Ken Hamlin will start in Taylor's place at free safety Sunday.

"He definitely will be missed in the game," Hamlin said. "Starting in his place is an honor."

When asked if he would honor Taylor on the field, Hamlin said: "We'll see."

Samuels, Albright and Cooley will each wear his own name on the back of the jersey, above the No. 21. The jerseys will be auctioned after the game, with the proceeds benefiting the Sean Taylor Memorial Trust Fund that was established for Taylor's daughter, Jackie.

PRO BOWL SOLD OUT

Sunday's Pro Bowl at Aloha Stadium will be telecast live locally on Fox.

Kickoff will be at 11:30 a.m.

The NFL, which blacks out telecast locally unless games are sold out 72 hours before an event, lifted the blackout today, according to the NFL.

The Pro Bowl, which has been played here annually since 1980, has been sold out every year, according to the NFL.

Reach Kyle Sakamoto at ksakamoto@honoluluadvertiser.com.

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