Taylor fined $17,000 for spitting at Pittman

Updated: January 9, 2006, 6:44 PM ET
Associated Press

ASHBURN, Va. -- Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor was fined $17,000 Monday by the NFL for spitting in the face of Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Michael Pittman.

Taylor was ejected and penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct for spitting at Pittman in the third quarter of Saturday's playoff game. The offense was considered so egregious that Pittman wasn't penalized for slapping Taylor in the helmet in retaliation.

The amount of the fine is the playoff bonus each Redskins player received for the first-round game, which the Redskins won 17-10.

Taylor escaped suspension for his action, keeping him on the active roster for this week's game at Seattle.

"He's just a passionate player out there," right tackle Chris Samuels said. "This upcoming game he'll be able to redeem himself. I don't think he'll make that mistake again."

Taylor did not comment after the game, and Monday was a day off for players. He has told teammates and coaches that he did not spit at Pittman, and coach Joe Gibbs said a review of the video was inconclusive.

"If that took place, we understand the penalties," Gibbs said. "We understand somebody being taken out of the game. Sean is so valuable to us. I had a long talk with him afterward, and he understands that. He's all football. He wants to play. He's one of our leaders. He's had an outstanding year. He's very valuable to us. We can't afford to lose somebody like that."

Taylor has been fined several times in his two-year career for a bevy of infractions, including $25,000 for skipping the league's mandatory rookie symposium. He has several in-season fines for illegal hits and uniform violations, including $5,000 for wearing striped socks that resembled a barber pole in this year's home game against Philadelphia.

He was investigated by the league last season for allegedly spitting at Cincinnati receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh, but no fine was levied because there was no video evidence.

Taylor also had a drunken driving charge last season that was later dismissed. He is scheduled to go on trial next week in Miami on a felony charge of aggravated assault stemming from a June 1 confrontation near his home, although he is expected to request a postponement because of the Redskins' playoff run.

Taylor has been praised by coaches and teammates for taking a more professional approach this season. He's also solidified his role as the defense's best young player and hardest hitter. He has returned a fumble for a touchdown in two straight games.

"He's turned his life around," defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin said. "He's been a more positive guy. He's been a great role model on the field."


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press

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