Taylor shooting increases emphasis on safety
By Bill Coats
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Wednesday, Dec. 26 2007
At 6 feet 2 and 290 chiseled pounds, Rams defensive tackle La'Roi Glover
already cuts an imposing figure. Add his withering glare to the package, and
it's a menacing portrait.
Which is exactly the point. When he's out in public, Glover doesn't want his
territory invaded by strangers. If he doesn't know you, expect to receive an
extremely cold shoulder.
"Some people may take that as being rude, but that's just me being guarded,"
said Glover, a 12-year NFL veteran. "I don't feel comfortable around people
that I don't know. You've just got to be leery. You're not untouchable."
That point was driven home Nov. 26, when Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor
was fatally shot in his Miami home by a would-be robber. It wasn't an isolated
incident. "Not only did we lose Sean, we've lost other young men," said Rams
running back Steven Jackson, shaking his head.
Taylor was killed less than a year after Broncos cornerback Darrent Williams
was shot to death outside a Denver nightclub, and just a couple of months after
Houston Texans cornerback Dunta Robinson was bound and robbed by a pair of
"It's concerning to me that there are acts of violence happening," Rams coach
Scott Linehan said. "It seems like a lot more is happening to a lot of these
high-profile athletes. ... Football's a sport; it's not life and death."
At one time, professional athletes were almost universally venerated by
society. Now, they appear to be targets of certain unsavory elements in
"For whatever reason, these things are happening," Jackson said. "You have to
make sure that you protect yourself."
Most players' homes are outfitted with sophisticated security systems.
Quarterback Marc Bulger said he can use a computer to keep an eye on his house
here even when he's back in his hometown of Pittsburgh.
However, the alarms won't go off if they're not turned on, wide receiver Torry
Holt said. "A lot of guys have the security system and stuff, but they don't
use them," he explained. "Use them; that's what you bought them for."
Bulger also has two large dogs that, he said, are an alarm system of their own.
"They're my noise factor," he said. Others have dogs that are trained to bite
as well as bark.
Also, the NFL offers free security checks of players' homes, if requested.
Those measures offer protection against intruders. But they won't help if
someone who has gained a level of trust has malice in mind. Thus, that trust
must be doled out carefully, rookie defensive lineman Adam Carriker said.
"A big part is who you let in your house, who you let work on your house, your
lawn," he said. "You really need to check them out first."
Added Bulger: "I am cautious about who I let in my house and about my
surroundings. You can never be too careful."
After the Taylor shooting, several players around the league vowed to acquire
guns. Jackson said he wouldn't go that far; Bulger was more coy.
"I'm just going to leave that up in the air," he said. "I might have none or I
might have 20."
NFL rookies are required to attend a symposium that includes detailed
instruction on personal security. Also, league security officials meet with all
32 teams' players once a year, before the start of the season.
Additionally, teams have their own security personnel. Former Kirkwood police
chief Dan Linza heads up the Rams' staff, and he urges players to report to him
any threat or problem that they encounter.
"We try to do everything we can with what we do and by using the league
resources," he said. That includes background checks of questionable
individuals, if requested by a player.
"All of it's there if they want to use it," Linza said. "We encourage them to
BULGER AVOIDS NIGHTCLUBS
The most effective deterrent, Linza emphasized, is staying out of situations
that can lead to trouble.
Bulger said, "I really don't go out to nightclubs and bars much, because you
never know. Not just because of who I am, but ... there's nothing good that can
happen" late at night.
Linza cautions players about doing anything that might draw attention to them.
Leave the snazzy cars and gaudy jewelry at home, he advises. Or as Jackson put
it, "If you have money, you don't shove it in anyone's face."
Linehan said he gives his players a version of the lecture his three sons
"You can't tell people how to live their lives; they're all grown men," he
said. "But they have to be aware that even though they're trying to stay out of
trouble, they can find trouble by being there."
The Taylor shooting unquestionably raised awareness around the league,
including among the Rams. "Your antennas go up even more when situations like
that happen," Glover said.
Still, the players questioned for this report stressed that in general, they
feel safe here.
"I'm not going over the top trying to get a whole lot of security measures,"
Holt said. "I'm just going to continue to do what I'm doing and try to keep a
low profile and try to keep myself out of harm's way as much as I possibly can,
but at the same time still get out and enjoy my life."
Linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa doesn't get out all that much — he and wife Shannon
have three young children. Still, he isn't particularly worried about their
safety, or his own.
"I don't live my life like that; I'm kind of weird that way," he said. "I think
human beings are naturally caring people, and I trust them. I don't really
bother myself with what can happen."
Wide receiver Isaac Bruce, who has said he would like to become a minister when
his playing days end, trusts his faith to protect him. "It does a much better
job than me personally going out and getting a gun or some kind of weapon," he
Plus, as several players pointed out, no matter what precautions are taken,
there is no way of guaranteeing anyone's safety.
"I say my prayers at night and in the morning," Jackson said, "and then I just
go about my day as I normally do."
Re: Taylor shooting increases emphasis on safety
man it is a weird world when you have to worry about getting robbed and shot in your own house.. i pray that this doesnt happen again.