- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 4, 2004

If Sean Taylor wants to renegotiate his contract with the Washington Redskins, he’s going to have to wait a full year.

The NFL’s collective bargaining agreement prohibits rookies like Taylor from redoing contracts until Aug.1, 2005, a spokesman for the players association said yesterday. That means the 21-year-old safety has no choice but to play this season under the seven-year, $18million deal he signed with the Redskins last week.

Taylor, the No.5 pick in April’s draft, fired agents Eugene Mato, Jeff Moorad and Scott Parker on Tuesday amid concerns that the contract they negotiated for him wasn’t satisfactory. The NFLPA has not formally received papers yet stating Taylor’s intentions, but sources with knowledge of the situation said the former University of Miami star will rehire Drew Rosenhaus, the agent he abruptly fired two days after the draft.

There has been speculation that Taylor wants to try to rework his deal with the Redskins, which includes a host of incentives that could escalate the total value to $40million, but he’ll be forced to play out this season under the original terms.

Taylor, as he has done since the start of training camp, declined to speak to reporters after practice yesterday. Rosenhaus could not be reached for comment.

Taylor continues to work with the Redskins’ second-string defense and according to assistant head coach Gregg Williams, the rookie is not letting his off-the-field issues affect his on-the-field play.

“That’s my fault if it translates into practice,” Williams said. “He’s not going to be distracted. He’s fine. Off the field’s a different thing. On the field, he’s a football player. …

“He’s a good young man. He’s got great attention to detail. He’s been very focused in meetings. Each day he’s doing better on the practice field. He just needs to play the game.”

Noble breaks hand

Nose tackle Brandon Noble, who is attempting to return from last summer’s major knee surgery, broke his hand during practice Tuesday night but is not expected to miss significant time.

Noble broke the third metatarsal on his right hand when he fell during the first play of Tuesday’s practice. He sat out yesterday’s team drills and had his hand wrapped up but said he should be able to play with a cast within a few days.

“It’s mildly disappointing, but at the same time, I’d much rather break my hand than tweak my knee,” Noble said. “This is something I can play with. I’ve done it before. It obviously doesn’t help, but I’m not going to lose any sleep over it.”

Williams said it was too early to tell whether Noble will be able to play in Monday night’s Hall of Fame Game against the Denver Broncos. Even before the burly nose tackle suffered the injury, the Redskins planned to be cautious with him during the five-game preseason.

Who’s the starter?

Andre Lott continues to practice with the first-string defense, and Williams said he is in line to start Monday’s game.

Lott never has started a game in his two seasons with the Redskins, and few figured he would open camp ahead of both Taylor and former starting safety Ifeanyi Ohalete on the depth chart. But Williams said Lott has earned the job for now.

“I’m anxious to see him play because I can see how he’s practicing, and he’s practicing very well,” Williams said. “I think you can see we’ve got him up there in the starting unit. That’s what we think about him right now. He’s the first guy we’re trotting out.”

Williams did caution against reading too much into starting lineups in the preseason, saying the coaching staff wants to try out different combinations before settling on a first unit for the Sept. 12 regular-season opener against Tampa Bay.

Extra points

Several players missed practice with minor injuries. Running back Ladell Betts (strained hamstring) and cornerback Rufus Brown (strained groin) were injured Tuesday night and are day-to-day. Defensive end Phillip Daniels (abdominal strain), wide receivers Taylor Jacobs (abdominal strain) and Cliff Russell (strained hamstring) and offensive linemen Randy Thomas (swollen knee) and Brandon Winey (sprained ankle) remain day-to-day. H-back Mike Sellers and offensive lineman Kenyatta Jones returned to practice after missing the last few days. …

Wide receivers Darnerien McCants and Jafar Williams and cornerbacks Rashad Bauman and Ade Jimoh were treated for heat-related symptoms yesterday, but none of the cases was serious. … The Redskins signed offensive lineman Dwayne Morgan, who played in five games with the Atlanta Falcons last season.

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