The Washington Times - August 16, 2008, 08:52AM

There was a heck of a sight after yesterday’s first practice at the Gossett team house in College Park.

Cornerback Richard Taylor – grinning, as he almost always is when he’s in the football complex – trudging up the stairs from the locker room, a pillow and blanket in tow.

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Really, was there going to be a slumber party at Gossett? Not so much.

Taylor is a veteran of the camp experience. And he knows when the morning session of a two-a-day is over, players flock back to La Plata Hall to get a few hours of rest. So he has a secret place to go to ensure he receives real rest during these tough times.

“The academic center,” he said slyly.

Now, if this was a guy who found his way onto Ralph Friedgen’s notorious lists, that comment would be laced with incredible irony. Imagine Friedgen fretting about a player’s grades all the time, only to find out that player uses the program’s academic center for nap time.

But Taylor’s a bright dude with pretty big real-world ambitions, and he’s going to turn his five years on scholarship into a communications degree as an undergrad and a master’s in real estate development out of Maryland’s architecture school. That’s above average work. And with very few players taking classes during the second summer session, the academic center is a fairly quiet place during camp.

Taylor even manages to set up a wake-up call, getting someone to come roust him out of the academic center when it’s time to get ready for the afternoon practice.

Sounds like Taylor got the full resort hotel experience (instead of the dorm experience) without paying a dime. See what I mean when I say he’s a sharp guy?

Patrick Stevens