Redskins safety Taylor has deal in assault case

Updated: June 1, 2006, 3:24 PM ET
Associated Press

MIAMI -- Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor reached an agreement with prosecutors to drop felony charges against him and pleaded no contest Thursday to two misdemeanors in an assault case, avoiding any jail time that might have derailed his NFL career.

Sean Taylor
AP Photo/Yesikka VivancosWhile pleading no contest, Sean Taylor, left, still believes he didn't do anything wrong.

The deal calls for Taylor to be placed on 18 months' probation, talk about the importance of education at 10 Miami-Dade County schools and contribute $1,000 for scholarships to each of those schools. He must also pay $429 in court costs.

The 23-year-old Taylor had been scheduled to go to trial on July 10. He had faced a maximum of 46 years in prison if convicted on three aggravated assault charges and one misdemeanor charge stemming from a confrontation last June after his all-terrain vehicles were taken.

"This is a fair and just resolution to this case that was blown out of proportion from the beginning," Taylor attorney Richard Sharpstein said. "It's a great outcome for Sean."

The NFL could still impose a fine or suspend Taylor for one or more games, Sharpstein said, but league officials did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment. The Redskins also declined comment but have publicly supported Taylor in the past.

When Taylor and some friends located the people who had the vehicles, the two sides eventually got into a fight and Taylor hit and shoved at least one person, a prosecutor said in court. Prosecutors had first accused Taylor of pointing a gun during the dispute, but he denied having a weapon. That accusation was dropped in the deal.

Speaking to Miami-Dade County Circuit Judge Leonard Glick, Taylor said the plea was "a hard pill for me to swallow" because "this is not something I think I'm guilty of."

But Taylor added: "I believe it's in my best interest to accept this plea."

Under the plea deal, the aggravated assault charges will be dropped and Taylor pleaded no contest to misdemeanor counts of simple battery and simple assault. If he does not violate probation, those charges would be eliminated from his record.

Taylor, a former University of Miami standout, signed a seven-year, $18 million contract with the Redskins after he was drafted in 2004. He has six interceptions and 120 tackles in two NFL seasons, but has become almost as well-known for his troubles.

Taylor has been fined seven times during his professional career for late hits and other infractions, including a $17,000 penalty for spitting in the face of Tampa Bay running back Michael Pittman during a January playoff game. He was also fined $25,000 for skipping a mandatory rookie symposium.


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press