Moss, Taylor only two unexcused absences

Updated: April 12, 2005, 5:12 PM ET
Associated Press

ASHBURN, Va. -- Santana Moss and Sean Taylor are skipping the Washington Redskins' spring workouts because they want new contracts, the latest chapter in a tumultuous offseason that has seen two top receivers request trades and LaVar Arrington criticize the way the team handled his knee injury.

Santana Moss
Wide Receiver
Washington Redskins
Rec Yds TD Avg Long YAC
45 838 5 18.6 69 229

Moss and Taylor are the only two unexcused absentees from the voluntary sessions. Moss is the team's biggest offseason acquisition, and safety Taylor is coming off a troubled rookie season in which off-the-field antics nearly overshadowed his promising talent.

"The only thing I would say to anybody: If you miss the offseason work, I don't think that's good for your career," Redskins coach Joe Gibbs said Tuesday.

Sean Taylor
Washington Redskins
Tot Ast Solo FF Sack Int
76 63 13 2 1 4

"It's not mandatory" to attend, Gibbs added. "You can't make it mandatory, but it is a critical time for us."

Gibbs and Arrington met to clear the air over comments made by the three-time Pro Bowl linebacker. On Monday, Arrington said the team did not support him during his injury last year and implied that coaches rushed him back onto the field. Gibbs denied the claims.

If Tuesday's meeting yielded any positive results, Arrington wasn't telling.

"I said what I said. Y'all don't need a quote," Arrington said as he emerged on crutches from Redskins Park. "Y'all already got what you need. The truth is in front of you."

LaVar Arrington
Washington Redskins
Tot Ast Solo FF Sack Int
15 11 4 0 1 0

Gibbs has been in damage-control mode all offseason, and the sagas have involved many of his highest-profile players. The coach also lost two highly valued "core Redskins," cornerback Fred Smoot and linebacker Antonio Pierce, to free agency.

Moss was acquired from the New York Jets for receiver Laveranues Coles, who was dissatisfied with Gibbs' conservative offense. Moss is entering the final year of his contract and wants a new deal, but the Redskins aren't expected to give him one before June 1 because of salary-cap reasons.

Gibbs said Moss' absence is hurting chemistry with quarterback Patrick Ramsey. Ramsey will be working with two new starting receivers next season because Coles and Rod Gardner wanted out. The Redskins are still trying to trade Gardner.

"I've talked to Santana numerous times," Gibbs said. "I think Santana wants to be here. We're trying to work through a process to get him here."

By contrast, Gibbs said Taylor hasn't returned calls. Taylor doesn't like the seven-year, $18 million deal he signed a year ago and he's fired two agents. He was fined for skipping a day of the NFL's rookie symposium and was benched for a game after being arrested on a drunken driving charge of which he was cleared.

Gibbs cited unspecified "complications" of a new deal for Taylor, and the coach tried to be optimistic that the latest setback isn't an indication of a difficult year to come.

"Last year we wound up having a rocky first year," Gibbs said. "I know there are some things that Sean wishes hadn't have happened, and we wish hadn't have happened. I think the lesson's learned there, I hope. What we're trying to do is get Sean settled down here, being a part of this team. I'm hoping any day he's going to show up."

Moss and Taylor are represented by the same agent, Drew Rosenhaus. Rosenhaus did not immediately return calls placed by The Associated Press.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press