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'Skins excuse Taylor from workouts, minicamp

MIAMI (June 6, 2005) -- After months of practically begging Sean Taylor to report to work, the Washington Redskins are now telling him to stay away.

Taylor's latest legal trouble, a felony charge of aggravated assault with a firearm in Miami, led the Redskins to issue a statement excusing the safety from the rest of the team's offseason meetings and practices.

"As an organization, the Redskins believe that it is in Sean's best interest to focus on his personal and legal issues at this time," the statement said.

Taylor turned himself in to police June 4 after a three-day search. Police said Taylor pointed a gun at an unidentified person June 1 during a dispute over two vehicles he claimed were stolen. Taylor also punched one person, according to the police statement, leading to a second charge of simple battery.

Taylor, 22, is free on $16,500 bond with an arraignment date scheduled for June 24. His football career is in serious jeopardy if he is convicted of the felony charge: It carries a minimum sentence of three years as a result of a crackdown on firearms-related crimes passed by Florida's legislature several years ago.

Taylor has been the only unexcused absentee from the Redskins voluntary offseason workout program and has not returned phone calls from coach Joe Gibbs, who several times expressed disappointment that Taylor was not participating. Last week, before the arrest, Gibbs did not know of Taylor's activities or whether Taylor would attend the mandatory minicamp on June 17-19.

Now, Taylor needn't bother.

"We have informed Sean's agent that, as of today, Sean is excused from participating in the remainder of the club's voluntary offseason workout program and the upcoming mandatory minicamp," the Redskins statement said.

Taylor's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, declined to comment.

The statement said that the Redskins will discuss any further action with NFL officials, who wait until the legal process is completed before disciplining a player. The statement does not address what will happen if Taylor's situation is not resolved before the start of training camp on July 31.

Redskins spokesman Karl Swanson declined to elaborate.

Taylor's offseason absence is just one of a laundry list of headaches the talented player from the University of Miami has caused the team since the Redskins chose him with the No. 5 overall pick a year ago. Gibbs has repeatedly call the selection "one of the most researched things" ever, but Taylor has instead repeatedly tested Joe Gibbs' No. 1 rule for players: "Don't embarrass the Redskins."

Taylor fired his agent the week the Redskins selected him, keeping his contract situation in limbo all summer until he hired a new one. He then fired the new one because he wasn't happy with his seven-year, $18 million deal. He also was fined for missing one day of the NFL's mandatory rookie symposium.

When he was on the field, Taylor was a formable presence. He started 13 games and had 89 tackles, four interceptions, one sack and forced two fumbles. He finished fourth in voting for the AP's NFL defensive rookie of the year.

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