NFL fines Taylor for leaving rookie meeting

Updated: July 23, 2004, 10:26 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Washington Redskins: Safety Sean Taylor has been fined $25,000 by the NFL for leaving the league's rookie symposium for a day.

The fine is the largest leveled on a rookie for missing the mandatory seminars for first-year players. Ryan Leaf of San Diego and Ron Dayne of the Giants were fined $10,000 in 1998 and 2000 -- Leaf for leaving early and Dayne for not attending.

The NFL did not announce the fine but a source within the league, who requested anonymity, confirmed to The Associated Press that it had been levied.

Taylor, who starred at Miami, was the fifth player chosen in last April's draft.

He attended the first session of the three-day San Diego symposium on Sunday, June 27. He left the next day, then returned for the final session.

Taylor explained that he had to return to Miami to collect his belongings in an apartment from when he was being evicted, reported ESPN.com's Len Pasquarelli. League officials became suspicious of that excuse when Taylor instead showed up in Washington.

Realizing the potentially serious consequences of Taylor's departure, the Redskins arranged for him to fly back to San Diego for the balance of the symposium. That action did not, however, assuage the league.

To add to the drama, the league announced the sanctions as 'Skins officials and Taylor's representatives were huddling in Newport Beach, Calif., to discuss a contract.

The mandatory rookie sessions are designed to teach rookies about the pitfall of being an NFL player, with an emphasis on off-the-field behavior.

The league-imposed fine is the latest misstep by Taylor since the Redskins selected him. He dismissed agent Drew Rosenhaus just days after the draft and didn't hire someone new until early this week. During minicamp, Taylor looked out of place and at times was relegated to the third unit. At the conclusion of one practice, linebacker LaVar Arrington shoved a shaving cream pie into Taylor's face, irritating the rookies eyes, and forcing him to sit out an on-field session

Cincinnati Bengals: Continuing the youth movement preferred by coach Marvin Lewis, the Bengals released seventh-year veteran linebacker Adrian Ross, leaving the team with only 17 players from the 2002 opening day roster.

The release of Ross means the roster now features just five defensive players who were with the Bengals before Lewis became head coach last season. It also means the current average chronological age of the Cincinnati roster has dropped to 25.2 years.

Ross, 29, has appeared in 90 games and started 34 of them, usually at the strongside spot. He appeared in 15 games in 2003, and started in 13 of them, but tore the anterior cruciate ligament of his right knee in the season finale. For his career, the former Colorado State standout has 171 tackles, three sacks and one interception.

"I still feel like I'm there best linebacker," Ross said. "The good thing about this is that I won't have to sit behind players who aren't as good as me."

The Bengals are now very inexperienced behind projected starters Kevin Hardy, Nate Webster and Brian Simmons. The team's reserve linebackers now total just three NFL starts, all belonging to former Tennessee Titans backup Frank Chamberlain, and there is a chance that the top backups at two positions will be rookies.

-- Len Pasquarelli

Green Bay Packers: Still looking for depth at defensive end, the Packers signed veteran free agent Tyrone Rogers, who played all five previous seasons with Cleveland.

Rogers, 30, has appeared in 57 games with 18 starts. He career totals include 74 tackles, 12 sacks, one forced fumble and seven pass deflections. The former Alabama State star has flashed decent pass rush ability at various times in his career.

The Packers last week released former first-rounder Jamal Reynolds, leaving the team with a vacancy at defensive end.

-- Len Pasquarelli

Philadelphia Eagles: Running back Bruce Perry has agreed to a four-year contract.

Perry, a Philadelphia native, was the Eagles' seventh-round pick in the 2004 draft.

He ranked fourth on the all-time rushing list at the University of Maryland, despite missing parts of two seasons to injuries. As a senior in 2003 he rushed for 713 yards and six touchdowns in nine games.

-- The Associated Press

Minnesota Vikings: The Vikings released punter Eddie Johnson.

Johnson, a sixth-round draft pick in 2003, struggled with his get-off time all season and was replaced late in the year by Leo Araguz after dropping snaps in three consecutive games.

The Vikings on Friday also signed punter Filip Filipovic and receiver Ryan Hoag. Hoag, a former Gustavus Adolphus standout, was a 2003 draft pick by Oakland and spent time last season with the New York Giants.

-- The Associated Press

St. Louis Rams: The Rams signed seventh-round pick Erik Jensen to a three-year contract.

Jensen, a 6-foot-2, 255-pound tight end, started 12 games for Iowa last season and finished his collegiate career with 24 receptions for 282 yards and three touchdowns.

The Rams previously signed 2004 draft picks Larry Turner, Jason Shivers and Brandon Chillar.

-- The Associated Press

New England Patriots: The team signed free agent tight end Matt Cercone.

The 6-foot-4, 252-pound Cercone was originally signed out of Arizona State as a free agent by the Minnesota Vikings in 1999. He also spent time with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Barcelona Dragons of NFL Europe.

The team did not disclose terms of the agreement.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior writer for ESPN.com.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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