Saturday, January 7, 2006
TAMPA -- Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor was ejected for spitting in the face of Michael Pittman during Saturday's 17-10 wild-card win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Taylor spit at Pittman as the two stood face-to-face after a 3-yard scramble by quarterback Chris Simms in the third quarter. Pittman hit Taylor in retaliation, but referee Mike Carey announced there would be no penalty on Pittman.
"There was a lot of trash-talking the whole time," Pittman said. "He spit in my face, no man is going to spit in my face. I have a lot of respect for Sean Taylor, but no respect no more. My initial reaction was, just hit him in the face. He'd be a lot worse if it was on the street."
Taylor, who declined to comment, will likely be fined by the league.
"You can't do anything crazy in the playoffs," defensive end Phillip Daniels said. "We need everybody. Sean's young. He's actually matured a lot, taking away today. He's got to be smarter than that."
Taylor was a nonstop source of trouble for the Redskins in 2004 as a rookie. After a game against Cincinnati, he was investigated for spitting at receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh. The NFL carefully reviewed tapes to determine whether Taylor should be fined, but they found no video evidence to support the allegation.
Taylor also had a drunken driving charge that was later dismissed, a fine for skipping the NFL's mandatory rookie symposium and several in-season fines for uniform violations and illegal hits. He is currently awaiting trial on a felony charge of aggravated assault stemming from a June 1 confrontation near his home in Miami.
Assistant coach Gregg Williams stood by Taylor, who had a 51-yard fumble return for a touchdown Saturday before his ejection.
"I believe in the kid," Williams said. "A lot of people don't see him behind the scenes the way I do. I love the kid. I'd adopt him as my own son. Sometimes I think I have him as my own son, or my own stepson. He said he didn't do it and I have to believe him. I'll take a look at the film before I talk with him."