Safety Sean Taylor, Washington's top pick in the NFL draft, has yet to sign with an agent with less than a week remaining until the Redskins resume training.
Taylor, selected fifth overall out of the University of Miami, had not submitted the required paperwork to secure representation with the NFL Players Association as of the close of business yesterday, raising the prospect he will not be on the field for the start of training camp later this month.
The Redskins will conduct a passing camp at the team's training facility in Ashburn next Monday through Wednesday, and virtually the entire team is expected to take part. Players formally report for training camp July 30 and practices officially begin the following day.
Meantime, the grievance hearing between linebacker LaVar Arrington and the Redskins has been pushed from early August until Nov. 2 because of a scheduling conflict, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.
Arrington and his agent believe they are owed an additional $6.5 million bonus as part of the eight-year, $68 million contract he signed in December. Both sides had hoped to resolve the matter before the season, but the issue could last at least through half of the regular season.
Washington will play its first preseason game in Canton, Ohio, against Denver on Aug. 9, a week earlier than other NFL clubs, and Redskins officials have said it is important that Taylor -- a projected starter -- not miss any practice time. Taylor is the only NFL first-round pick still without an agent, league sources said, and most teams are involved in negotiations with those players by now. Few top draft picks have signed, but most of those deals are made just before training camp starts. Once one player signs, those selected near him in the draft generally fall into place because other teams and picks are then able to work off a contract benchmark. The Redskins have been unable to hold any preliminary discussions with Taylor or get a feel for his demands given his lack of an agent.
Redskins vice president of football operations Vinny Cerrato did not return a call seeking comment on Taylor's situation yesterday.
Team officials originally believed Taylor would secure an agent over the July 4th weekend, but he failed to make a decision then. There has been speculation about Taylor's plans among agents, but Taylor has declined to explain why he fired agent Drew Rosenhaus days after the draft in April or what he is considering in the search for a new agent.
The lack of representation is highly unusual for a player of Taylor's stature, although several players taken in lower rounds -- four through seven -- do not have representation. Contracts for those picks are generally much less involved, however, and far simpler to structure.
Redskins Coach Joe Gibbs spoke firmly about his lack of sympathy for players who hold out of training camp, particularly rookies who are learning the professional game. Losing practice time could have a significant effect on Taylor's role with the team. He has the ability to be an immediate impact player, NFL officials believe, but has much to learn about the game at the NFL level.
Taylor also could learn this week of a potential fine from the NFL for failing to attend its mandatory rookie seminar earlier this month in California. Taylor left the four-day event early and the league has fined players $10,000 for doing so in the past.
Staff writer Nunyo Demasio contributed to this report.