Here we all have been, thinking that Sean Taylor has been boycotting the team's voluntary workouts because he wants a new contract. According to Joe Gibbs, quoted in a Washington Times article, that isn't the case:
'I really don't think [it's] contractual,' Gibbs said after the first of 14 days of voluntary organized team activities that followed offseason workouts that began March 21. 'I think Sean understands he's got a contract. And we expect him to honor it.'
Having yet to hear from Taylor this offseason, Gibbs recently sent contract negotiator Eric Schaffer to meet with Taylor's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, but to no avail. Rosenhaus maintained his no-comment policy on Taylor's situation yesterday.
Taylor dumped the agent who negotiated his rookie contract and hired Rosenhaus, whose biography was entitled "A Shark Never Sleeps". Given that Rosenhaus has been asking for new deals for his clients from Ruben Droughns to Terrell Owens, and that a kind assessment of the contract that Taylor signed last year was that it favored the Redskins, it was a logical conclusion to figure that Taylor wanted to renegotiate. But maybe he just wants to hang out in Miami rather than in Ashburn. His teammate at Miami and now with the Redskins Clinton Portis:
Sean knows his responsibilities. He had a long season, going through the alcohol thing (a DUI arrest for which he was acquitted) and all that. When you're under the spotlight forever [and] you finally get away from it, you want to stay out of it for a little while. . .I'm not justifying Sean's actions ... [but] I'm sure if he has a Pro Bowl-type year, everybody will forget about this.
And it's possible that nobody would be paying much attention to this in the first place if not for the hiring of Rosenhaus, the DUI incident which cost Taylor a one-game suspension for missing practice, and Taylor blowing off the last part of a mandatory rookie orientation. No major transgressions to be sure, but there's enough of a cumulative effect there to cast a growing negative public image of Taylor.
Keep in mind that Taylor has drawn the ire of the fan base and of his head coach and hasn't missed a single mandatory activity this offseason. Minicamp will be next month and that's going to be the first indication of if there will be a holdout or not.
Meanwhile, we are left to guess. It would seem odd for Rosenhaus, whose contract negotiations for other players such as TO have been very much held in the public eye, to decline any comment on Taylor's status. Even if he's keeping things behind closed doors, it would appear that he hasn't even taken the first step towards renegotiating a contract, which would be to go to the man in charge (Gibbs) and say, "My client requires a new contract if he is to participate in the 2005 football season."
It's not that the OTA's that Taylor is missing now aren't important and clearly it would be better for the Redskins if he were there. But, as Portis said, Taylor managed to have a great season despite having missed the time in Ashburn in May, nobody will remember it.
If, however, he goes through a sophomore slump he will be in the crosshairs of public and press criticism even more than he has been. It's apparently a chance he has chosen to take.