- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor and receiver Santana Moss are not participating in the team’s offseason conditioning program because they want new contracts.

They are the only players skipping the workouts.

Moss, acquired last month from the New York Jets for receiver Laveranues Coles, is due to earn $448,000 in the final year of the rookie deal he signed in 2001.

Taylor, the fifth pick in last year’s draft, signed a seven-year, $18 million contract last July that could be worth up to $40 million via incentives.

Taylor then was represented by Jeff Moorad, whom he fired and replaced with Drew Rosenhaus, his first agent and also Moss’ agent. Coach Joe Gibbs said the Redskins have a good relationship with Rosenhaus, with whom he spoke last week.

Taylor’s absence is the latest incident in his first year as a Redskin. He changed agents twice, was fined for walking out of the NFL’s mandatory rookie symposium in June, was arrested for driving under the influence in October — the charges later were dropped — and was fined for late hits and improper socks.

“I think Santana wants to be here,” Gibbs said. “He was a great workout guy with the Jets. [We’re] trying to work through a [contract negotiation] to get him here.

“Sean’s situation is different because he has a deal that was just done last year. Sean had a rocky first year. There are some things that I know Sean wish hadn’t happened and we wish hadn’t happened. We’re trying to get Sean settled down, being a part of this team. … I’m hoping any day here that he’s going to show up.”

Gibbs said he has been unable to reach Taylor but has talked to Moss several times. Taylor and Moss couldn’t be reached for comment, and Rosenhaus has declined to comment.

Safety Ryan Clark said he has talked to Taylor but isn’t certain if he is working out in South Florida, as is Moss.

“I wish Sean was here,” Clark said. “We’re a better team with Sean. I’ve talked to him to see how he’s doing. You’ve got to remember that he’s a young guy. I’m pretty sure that he’s staying in shape and he’ll be here for training camp.”

Gibbs said Moss and Taylor, who is forfeiting a $150,00 bonus for not participating in the offseason program, will be on hand for training camp whether they have new contracts or not.

“If you miss the offseason work, that’s not smart for you and your career,” Gibbs said of the voluntary program that runs from March 21 to June 19. “We don’t threaten anybody. You don’t have to be here. It’s something we’re asking you to do. If you’re not here, you’re hurting the team.”

Taylor was the first draft pick of Gibbs’ second tenure with the Redskins. Gibbs said character, not speed or strength, is the Redskins’ top priority when choosing players.

“If you’re going off the measurables, you’re going to get in big trouble,” Gibbs said. “The most important thing is character. … Every single person that we interview for the draft, the first thing we ask is, ‘If the Redskins draft you, are you willing to make a commitment to the Redskins in the offseason?’ If someone said to us, ‘I’m not going to be there,’ it would have a big impact on me.”

But the Hall of Fame coach said trying to decipher character is more difficult than figuring out if a player can block, catch or tackle.

“We try to figure out what’s in here, and that’s one of the hardest things in the world,” Gibbs said, pointing to his heart. “You can’t time that. You can’t weigh it. You’ve got to somehow go into the background and figure out what kind of person that is.”

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