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Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Living Scared: Fred Taylor

ESPN The Magazine

Fred Taylor has spent a lot of time and money to protect himself and his family. But two months after his Jaguars teammate Richard Collier was shot 14 times and left paralyzed from the waist down, the veteran running back knows what may be the greatest threat to his well-being: a false sense of security.

I have all the security measures at my house: systems, cameras—I can watch everything from my computer. But I still don't think I have enough. Who knows what's enough?

League officials tell us we need to take measures to protect ourselves. But the NFL says we can't have guns in the facility, even in the parking lot. Crooks know this. They can just sit back and wait for us to drive off, knowing we won't have anything in our vehicle from point A to point B. I was going to get a guard dog, but my wife doesn't like dogs. So I got an AR-15 military gun instead. Since I was old enough to bear arms, I have owned a gun. A gun makes you feel safe. But with a gun, it comes down to the draw. If an intruder gets the upper hand, what are you gonna do? Pull your gun out and get your brains blown out? It's about being smart, too, even with a gun.

Common sense can save your life. After we have a party at my house I go around and check all the windows. It's easy for someone at a party to unlatch a window and come back later. Nowadays, if I'm gonna be out during certain hours in certain areas, I make sure to take the car with regular rims9factory-stock stuff only. And these young guys with the jewelry? When I was younger I wore it all day, every day, everywhere. But I'm 32, and I know there's a time and place to wear it.

I don't think guys need to cut ties with the people they grew up with. I still associate with those guys back home on the street corner. They'll actually coach me from the sidelines, like, "Hey Freddy, I'm hearing this, or this is the way guys are getting set up or this is the tactic they're using to rob people."

I've felt fear. I woke up once in the middle of the night, alarm going. My son, he's running down the hall, and I hear his footsteps, and I'm right behind our bedroom door in position to defend myself, going over everything in my mind. Then I look at the alarm. My wife set it wrong. There are just so many weird things that can go wrong. It only takes the blink of an eye.