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Taylor, Moss Miss Redskins Workouts

By Jason La Canfora
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, April 7, 2005; Page D01

Washington Redskins Coach Joe Gibbs expressed frustration yesterday over the absence of top wide receiver Santana Moss and starting safety Sean Taylor from voluntary offseason workouts, which are in their third week, and believes both key players should be attending regularly.

"Everybody should be here," said Gibbs, who stressed the importance of workouts during a team meeting that neither player attended last week. "Everybody should be here, and it's very disappointing to us when they're not here."

Santana Moss
Santana Moss
Coach Joe Gibbs is not happy that Santana Moss, above, has not attended the voluntary workouts. (Bill Kostroun - AP)

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Moss, 25, was Washington's most significant offseason addition and was acquired from the New York Jets last month for star receiver Laveranues Coles, who requested a trade after expressing concerns about Washington's offense. Taylor was selected fifth overall in the 2004 draft and has been seeking to renegotiate his contract, which is worth a maximum of $40 million.

Both players, who attended the University of Miami and are represented by agent Drew Rosenhaus, are believed to be working out in Florida. Moss has one year and $450,000 remaining on his contract, and the Redskins immediately expressed a strong desire to sign him to a new deal. Moss is seeking a contract with a significant signing bonus comparable to other top receivers, sources said, and, those talks appear to have hit a snag.

Gibbs said he believed that Moss's absence was related to his desire for a new contract, adding, "We're just working through a process there and trying to work [his contract] out, but the bottom line is everybody should be here."

When asked if he thought a resolution was near, he said: "I have no idea. We're just trying to work our way through it."

Gibbs confirmed last week that team officials had held discussions with Taylor to hear his contract concerns, but at this point the Redskins do not appear inclined to greatly alter that deal. "We've had some meetings there," Gibbs said last Thursday, "but he's got a contract, and we're all set there for a bunch of years, so we're in good shape there."

Rosenhaus has not returned numerous phone messages regarding Moss and Taylor, but told the Associated Press last month that Moss was thrilled to be a Redskin. "He's going to be a focal point of their offense," Rosenhaus said. "I anticipate that we'll be able to work out a very lucrative extension for him.''

The Redskins were adamant about getting rid of Coles after he expressed a desire to play elsewhere, taking a $9 million salary cap hit to complete the trade, but Coles was routinely lauded for his passion during games, practices and offseason workouts, a fact not lost on some Redskins yesterday who privately expressed concerns about Moss's actions so early in his tenure with the organization.

Most every Redskins player is at the team's headquarters at least four days a week, lifting weights and working on conditioning. This time is most critical for receivers and quarterbacks, however, particularly those who have never played together, as the Redskins are desperate to improve the league's third-worst passing game.

Starting quarterback Patrick Ramsey said he left a phone message with Moss but has yet to speak with him and has no idea when he might report to Redskins Park. While not criticizing the receiver, Ramsey said he believes a lot can be accomplished in voluntary workouts.

"Our job now is to prepare," Ramsey said, "and you don't even want to really approach it from a job standpoint, you want to approach it kind of from a pride standpoint, that this is what I want, this is what I need to do -- and maybe even more than this -- to get ready to get to where we want to go as a team. It's not like I have to go do it, it's like, 'It's time to go get it done.' "

Wide receiver Taylor Jacobs, who has not spoken to Moss but is represented by Rosenhaus, said: "I think Santana's got some things he's got to work out right now with the organization and his agent. We share the same agent, and I know our agent will get it done. But being out there with the guys this time of year is great, and it's a chance to get better."

Moss was selected 16th overall by the Jets in 2001 and posted his best season in 2003 with 74 catches for 1,105 yards and 10 touchdowns. Last season he slipped to 45 receptions for 838 yards and 5 touchdowns.

"I don't really understand how all this works, and I guess it's not a huge surprise to me that he's not here," said second-year H-back Chris Cooley, "but it's kind of weird that he's brand new here and it looks like he's not going to make it for the workouts."

Redskins Notes: The Redskins signed linebacker Brian Allen, who had been with Carolina, to bolster their special teams. . . . A miscommunication between Taylor and team officials resulted in the Redskins ordering and selling jerseys with his name and the No. 21 on the back at team stores. Taylor did not change from No. 36, however, and, according to a team representative, the mistake has been corrected. Those who bought the No. 21 jersey will be given refunds if they desire.

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