Safety Landon Collins changed his jersey number in June, 2015 to 21 in honor of the late Sean Taylor:
THIS STORY ORIGINALLY RAN IN JUNE, 2015*
There is no escaping the past at 1925 Giants Drive.
From Super Bowl murals to photos of past greats and, of course, the glass case that proudly displays four Lombardi Trophies, 90 years of Giants pride surround current players, coaches, and staff members when they walk around the Quest Diagnostics Training Center.
And then there is a hallway.
Lined with silver printing plates of old newspapers that tell the stories of defining games throughout the franchise's history, every player coming from the locker room must pass through this corridor, which takes you to the practice fields if you go left, position rooms to the right, and the team auditorium and cafeteria straight ahead.
Of these front pages frozen in time, Landon Collins has a connection with one that runs deep.
The win went on the clinch back-to-back playoff appearances for the Giants for the first time since 1989-90, but that's not really why Collins, who was a 12-year-old from Louisiana at the time, is inspired by the particular artifact.
Rather, it was the late Redskins safety Sean Taylor also captured in the photo, stretched out in midair attempting to take down Barber.
It was around then that Collins began to follow Taylor, an idol of his that has carried over from his prep days at Dutchtown to college at Alabama and now the professional ranks as the Giants' second-round draft choice.
"Every day I walk by it and I look at it," Collins told Giants.com. "I actually touch the picture and keep walking. It's something that pushes me every day, every time I walk by it. It just pushes me."
Taylor was also the reason that Collins this week changed his number from 27 to 21, which was worn by Taylor until his death at the age of 24 in 2007.
"It was my dream to be coming into the league to be No. 21 because my idol was 21, Sean Taylor," said Collins, who recalled crying the day Taylor was fatally shot in his Florida home. "I just wanted to continue to follow in his steps and try to be a great player just as he was. That's why I wore 26 back in college, because his number was 26."
Photos of the late Safety Sean Taylor
Like Taylor at Miami, Collins became a unanimous All-American wearing No. 26 with the Crimson Tide, helping the team win a BCS National Championship as a freshman. After the Giants traded up to get him with the first pick of the second round this past May, Collins was given No. 27 because 21 was already being worn by Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.
But then on Tuesday the veteran cornerback gave it up to the rookie Collins, adding an unwritten clause in the agreement.
"He inspired me to go out to practice and work even harder because that's a big toll on my back," Collins said of Rodgers-Cromartie, who will now wear No. 41. "There's some great 21's that came through this organization, and I'm following after a great 21 that played prior to me. It's a big step, and he said just wear that number with pride."