In Redskins rookie Taylor, Reed sees `something special' in future


Raven remembers safety from days with Hurricanes

October 08, 2004|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

Often on a college football team, seniors ignore freshmen.

The only attention freshmen tend to get are of a hazing variety, but that wasn't the case when the Ravens' Ed Reed was in his final season at the University of Miami and Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor was in his first with the Hurricanes.

Reed could tell something was a little different about Taylor, and in turn, went out of his way to make sure the youngster would contribute immediately.

One of just four first-year freshmen to play that year, Taylor eventually worked himself up to be the No. 5 overall selection in the draft this year, a remarkably high number for a team to claim a safety.

"I expected it," Reed said of Taylor's acclaim.

"We knew that when Sean was coming up. He was a physical guy who can run, cover and do it all, a great safety. Sean is going to be something special."

Many consider Reed, who made the Pro Bowl last year, a special player already, and Sunday night's game at FedEx Field figures to feature two of the best young safeties in the league.

Taylor does not have any interceptions in four games, but he made quite the splash in the preseason when he picked off two passes, returning one for a touchdown. He also forced and recovered a fumble.

Those impact plays are the kind Reed has made with the Ravens and used to make with the Hurricanes.

"I definitely learned a lot from him and the way he looked at things," Taylor said. "He's one of the players you looked up to. He's going to be playing on the other side. It's going to be special. As a player ahead of me, I always looked at what he did and tried to improve on it.

"It's going to be good going against him and Ray [Lewis]."

An assist, a joke

One of the strangest sights from Monday night's game came when cameras caught Deion Sanders tying Gary Baxter's shoe after a play near the Ravens' sideline.

Sanders, who was inactive, said he was just trying to help Baxter, who was playing with a cast on his hand.

"It was just in the heat of the battle," Baxter said. "I didn't know who was tying my shoe. He did a good job."

Sanders, though, was part of a practical joke played on Baxter that aired at halftime of the game. A couple of teammates convinced Baxter that his automobile was being repossessed.

"I'm going to get the last laugh," Baxter said.

T. Taylor practices

Receiver Travis Taylor participated in his first practice since re-injuring his groin in the opening week of the season.

Taylor is listed as questionable, but chances are he will not play against the Redskins. Fullback Ovie Mughelli (hamstring), Sanders (hamstring) and linebacker T.J. Slaughter (hamstring) all practiced yesterday and are also questionable.

Center Mike Flynn (collarbone) and tight end Todd Heap (ankle) are out.

Billick on Gibbs

For the second time this week, Ravens coach Brian Billick said glowing things about Redskins coach Joe Gibbs, refuting any notion that the game has passed Gibbs by.

"That's ludicrous," Billick said. "That's absurd. The man is a brilliant coach. This game is not that complicated, trust me. You're looking at a team that is still getting used to a style of play."

Sun staff writer Mike Preston contributed to this article.

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