Hot water doesn't bother 'Skins' Taylor

Safety has no apologies for team, Miami situation

Pro Football

August 02, 2005|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

ASHBURN, Va. - He perplexed the Washington Redskins by avoiding every voluntary workout this offseason. He incurred the wrath of coach Joe Gibbs by failing to return his phone calls. And his future as a Redskin is clouded by a felony assault charge and a coming trial.

Yet, safety Sean Taylor apparently is not concerned. Speaking for the first time since October, Taylor remained defiant and unapologetic yesterday about his actions and possible consequences.

"I'm sure if everybody had a time machine and they can go ahead and hop into that time machine and go back a couple of hours or a couple of seconds, they would do it. But there's no time machine," Taylor said on the first day of training camp at Redskins Park yesterday.

Contrary to a headline in yesterday's editions of The Washington Post that described Taylor as being regretful, the second-year player offered no such contrition in a 10-minute question-and-answer session.

"I don't think anybody should have regrets, especially me," said Taylor, whose father is the chief of police in Florida City, Fla. "You don't regret anything you do in life. If you do it, you do it for a reason."

When the Redskins made the 6-foot-2, 232-pound player the fifth overall pick in the 2004 draft out of the University of Miami, they believed they were selecting someone who could make an impact on the field and be a model off it.

While Taylor finished last season ranked second on the team in interceptions (four) and fifth in tackles (89) in 13 starts, his rookie year included the hiring and firing of agents twice, a $25,000 league fine for leaving a rookie symposium early and being arrested on a DUI charge (of which he was acquitted).

This year, he skipped the team's voluntary workouts. Gibbs called and left phone messages, but Taylor never responded.

And in June, he was charged with a felony count of aggravated assault with a firearm and a misdemeanor count of simple battery resulting from a June 1 confrontation over the alleged theft of his two all-terrain vehicles in Miami.

If convicted under Florida's strict gun laws, he would face a mandatory minimum sentence of three years and a maximum of 16 years. A trial is tentatively scheduled for Sept. 12 - a day after Washington's season opener against the Chicago Bears - but Taylor's legal team has asked for a delay.

He seemed unruffled by the possibility of going to prison, saying, "That's why we've got judges, why we've got trials, why we've got people who make decisions on what goes on in court. I'm not worried about anything."

Taylor acknowledged he could have maintained better communication with Gibbs, but when a reporter asked him four times why he didn't attend the voluntary workouts, he had the same answer each time: "It was offseason."

Running back Clinton Portis, a fellow Hurricane, said he wasn't surprised by Taylor's offseason absence. Portis acknowledged he stayed away from the Denver Broncos after his first season until reporting to a mandatory team minicamp.

Taylor, who switched jersey numbers from 36 to 21, played with the second unit yesterday and recorded an interception and a forced fumble. Gibbs acknowledged the demotion was linked to his offseason absence.

"I think he's missed a lot," Gibbs said. "I think the coaching staff thinks it's one of those things where we kind of felt like that was probably the best place to start him."

NOTE: First-round draft pick Jason Campbell agreed to a five-year contract late yesterday, ending a one-day holdout. Campbell, the No. 25 overall selection from Auburn, is expected to be the No. 3 quarterback behind starter Patrick Ramsey and Mark Brunell.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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