Safety charged with assault, battery
Citing his weekend arrest on gun-related charges, the Washington Redskins on Monday excused second-year safety Sean Taylor from the balance of the team's offseason voluntary workouts and also from a mandatory June 17-19 mini-camp.
Club officials, league sources said, also began reviewing Taylor's contract to assess the possibilities of either recovering or withholding payments if the 2004 first-round draft choice misses either part or all of the 2005 season as a result of his legal entanglements.
The Redskins are scheduled to report for summer training camp on July 31 with the first practice slated for the next day.
"As an organization, we feel it's better for Sean to concentrate on these personal issues and hopefully get this squared away for him," team president and head coach Joe Gibbs said in a statement. "Everyone here is aware of the situation involving Sean Taylor this past week in Miami. The league has a personal conduct policy that governs this type of situation and we will be discussing the matter with league officials. All questions regarding the League's Personal Conduct Policy should be directed to the league office.
"With that in mind, we have informed Sean's agent that, as of today, Sean is excused from participating in the remainder of the club's voluntary offseason workout program and the upcoming mandatory mini-camp beginning on June 17. As an organization, the Redskins believe that it is in Sean's best interest to focus on his personal and legal issues at this time."
Taylor, the fifth player chosen overall in the 2004 draft and a starter in 13 games his rookie season, has skipped all of the Redskins' offseason workouts to date. It is speculated that the former University of Miami star is seeking to have his contract upgraded, but Gibbs noted last week he did not believe Taylor's absence was contract-related.
That said, Taylor has not returned Gibbs' phone calls the entire offseason. The Redskins organization was said, even before Taylor's arrest, to be upset with the lack of communication.
As part of his seven-year contract, which has a base value of about $18 million and a maximum value of $40 million, according to NFL Players Association documents, Taylor was to earn $13.045 million in signing, roster and option bonuses. It is believed that Taylor has received $9.022 million of that bonus total to date. A league sources said that Taylor's contract does include "certain default language" that would permit the team to seek "a readjustment" to the deal if the Redskins are deprived of his services.
Taylor turned himself in to police Saturday night after a three-day search. Police said Taylor pointed a gun but did not fire at an unidentified person Wednesday during a dispute over two vehicles he claimed were stolen. Taylor also punched one person, according to the police statement, leading to a second charge of simple battery.
Taylor, 22, is free on $16,500 bond with an arraignment date scheduled for June 24. His football career is in serious jeopardy if he is convicted of the felony charge: It carries a minimum sentence of three years as a result of a crackdown on firearms-related crimes passed by Florida's legislature several years ago.
Taylor's offseason absence is just one of a laundry list of headaches the talented player from the University of Miami has caused the team since the Redskins chose him with the No. 5 overall pick a year ago. Gibbs has repeatedly call the selection "one of the most researched things" ever, but Taylor has instead repeatedly tested Joe Gibbs' No. 1 rule for players: "Don't embarrass the Redskins."
Taylor fired his agent the week the Redskins selected him, keeping his contract situation in limbo all summer until he hired a new one. He then fired the new one because he wasn't happy with his seven-year, $18 million deal. He also was fined for missing one day of the NFL's mandatory rookie symposium.
Taylor was charged with drunken driving in October after attending a late-night birthday party for receiver Rod Gardner. He missed practice after the arrest and was benched for the following week's game.
The charges were dismissed in January.
When he was on the field, Taylor was a formable presence. He started 13 games and had 89 tackles, four interceptions, one sack and forced two fumbles. He finished fourth in voting for the AP's NFL defensive rookie of the year.
Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report. To check out Len's chat archive, click here .