Modell's mum on Taylor talks

Comments on contract banned, owner says

July 28, 2000|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,SUN STAFF

Ravens owner Art Modell ordered an organizational moratorium on comments about the contract impasse with first-round pick Travis Taylor yesterday, but not before issuing a vote of confidence for Pat Moriarty, the team's chief negotiator.

"My support for Pat Moriarty as a competent negotiator is without reservation, period," Modell said.

Taylor, the 10th pick in the NFL draft, missed his fourth day of training camp at Western Maryland College in Westminster. After Moriarty delivered the Ravens' final proposal, a five-year deal worth just less than $7.5 million, on Wednesday, talks broke off. No new talks are planned.

Taylor's agent, Steve Weinberg, has requested the team bring a new, second negotiator to the bargaining table. The Ravens have been swift and emphatic in rejecting the request.

Modell made it clear negotiations will be left to Moriarty.

"I'm not [going to become involved]," he said. "[Team president] David Modell will not. [Vice president for player personnel] Ozzie Newsome will not. Ozzie will be in touch with Pat because Pat works for him, but will not get on the firing line."

In the meantime, the Ravens will renew negotiations on a contract extension for Pro Bowl offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden almost immediately. In the fifth year of a seven-year deal he signed in 1996, Ogden can void the final two years of the contract and become a free agent in March.

The Ravens acknowledge that signing Ogden will be an expensive venture. Jon Runyan set the tackle standard in the off-season when he signed with the Philadelphia Eagles for six years and $30.5 million, averaging more than $5 million per season.

Ogden's contract should top that, and his agent, Marvin Demoff reportedly is seeking a deal that averages $7 million with a $13 million signing bonus.

Upon reporting to camp this week, Ogden said he would not allow those negotiations to drag out.

"Once Marvin gives them a proposal, it's going to be a week-or-so timetable," he said. "I believe the next offer that is made, in my opinion, will be a yes or no type thing."

As for Taylor, the question is how long he can afford to hold out -- from both a football and financial standpoint.

In a special Outside the Lines program last June entitled "Athletes, Dollars & Sense," ESPN documented a spending spree by the 21-year-old wide receiver.

According to ESPN, Taylor has taken out a total of $275,000 worth of loans, including $145,000 before he was drafted.

Since then, he purchased three new cars, paid $32,000 for a custom-made, 15-carat, Rolex watch, spent $35,000 on two trips to Ethan Allen for furniture, and bought two diamond rings.

He bought a Lincoln Navigator for his mother at the cost of $41,000, and borrowed $55,000 for a Lexus for his wife, Rashidah. He also spent $45,000 to lease an $81,000 Mercedes in an upgrade, and added $4,000 in custom-made rims.

He also put down a $10,000 deposit on a $650,000 estate near the team's Owings Mills complex, but backed out of the deal when he found out the timing of the purchase would cost him $400,000 in state tax.

Minus the deposit, that's a line of credit of more than $200,000.

ESPN said Taylor made $12,000 for a rookie card photo shoot.

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