By Howard Bryant
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor arrived for voluntary workouts yesterday morning, joining his teammates after missing the first week of offseason training sessions.
Redskins Coach Joe Gibbs was not made available to discuss Taylor's arrival, but planned to discuss it during his weekly meeting with reporters after the team workout tomorrow, according to team officials.
Gibbs said last week that he had had "no contact whatsoever" with Taylor, 24, that would help him explain the reason for his absence from the practices. Taylor has been training on his own in Miami.
Taylor's absence last week prompted some teammates to wonder whether he was unhappy with his contract. Taylor's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, did not return phone calls seeking comment.
"No truth to that at all," Taylor told the team's official Web site, when asked after the workout yesterday if he was upset about his contract. "I have a seven-year contract. I've played three years of that contract and I'm fine."
Taylor signed a seven-year, $18 million deal after being selected as the team's top draft choice in 2004. Taylor's deal gives him $7.2 million in guaranteed money, with bonuses that could total an additional $6 million.
The workouts are voluntary, so players are not obligated to attend. By not appearing last week, Taylor did not violate any team rule. Still, during his second tenure as Washington's head coach, Gibbs has made it clear that attendance at the three-times-weekly, month-long voluntary workout period -- known as organized team activities, or OTAs -- is significant to him for team-building purposes.
Attendance at next month's minicamp is mandatory.
Team sources indicated that during parts of the offseason, the Redskins and Taylor had discussed a contract extension without resolution. Adding to the potential tension, teammates said, was the Redskins' decision last month to draft safety LaRon Landry, who could stand to earn a sizable contract.
As the sixth overall pick in the draft, Landry could earn about $15 million in guaranteed money. Former Maryland tight end Vernon Davis received $15.2 million in guaranteed money last year after being drafted sixth by San Francisco.
"We're doing anything we can to make our team better and also to win games," Taylor said. "Whether it's drafting safeties, linebackers, receivers, whatever. I like that we drafted a safety and I like the draft choices we made this year."
With Taylor now in attendance, the Redskins' defensive coaches can begin working on transitioning Taylor to free safety, a position that will allow him to take a more primary role in pass coverage as rookie Landry is expected to compete for and win the strong safety job during training camp.
For his first three years in Washington, assistant head coach-defense Gregg Williams did not apply designations to his two safeties but will this season.
Taylor's arrival means that cornerback Shawn Springs is the only starter who has not yet reported to Redskins Park. Springs, who is working out in Arizona, said last week that he told Williams and secondary coach Jerry Gray that he would arrive in about two weeks.
Redskins Notes: The Redskins added defensive back Byron Westbrook, defensive end Alex Buzbee, tight end Brian Bell, linebacker Kevin Jones, fullback Pete Schmitt, wide receiver Carl Berman, defensive back Brian Register and guard Cornelius Rogers to the active roster. Westbrook is the brother of Philadelphia Eagles running back Brian Westbrook. The team announced it had released tight end Zach Hilton, less than a week after signing him to a one-year contract.