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Moss, Taylor only two unexcused absences

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.

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.

"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."

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.