- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 21, 2005

Sean Taylor and Santana Moss remain absent from the Washington Redskins’ offseason conditioning program, but Clinton Portis said yesterday he believes his former University of Miami teammates will rejoin him when the Redskins convene June 17 for their mandatory minicamp.

Redskins coach Joe Gibbs said he expected Taylor and Moss to be on hand for the 14 organized team activity days beginning May 17, which he said were mandatory. According to the NFL Players Association, however, those days — like the offseason conditioning program — are voluntary. Taylor, Washington’s first pick in the 2004 draft, and Moss are the only healthy Redskins who haven’t been working out at Redskin Park the past month.

“We want all our players to be here,” Gibbs said.

Portis said Moss, acquired from the New York Jets last month, wants to redo a contract that has a year remaining, though Taylor’s reported unhappiness over his contract is not the only reason he is staying away.

“Any time you go through a season such as we had when you’re used to winning — a long NFL season — and going through all the bad pub [Taylor] took, you just need time away from football,” said Portis, who saw both Taylor and Moss last weekend in South Florida. “Sean’s in shape. He looks good. He’s training. He’s going to be in shape.”

Taylor has found himself in the news by firing an agent last summer, skipping a mandatory NFL rookie orientation class and being charged with DWI last fall.

Portis, who was acquired from Denver last winter, said he understands Taylor’s thinking even if the Redskins don’t.

“You’ve got to be away from football sometimes,” Portis said. “I said that to Coach. Last year, that happened to me. Being traded and having to go through moving, sometimes you kind of lose your fire.”

Even though Portis has been a workout regular this offseason at the request of Gibbs, who wants him to become more of a leader, the Pro Bowl running back questioned the importance of being at Redskin Park now.

“Something that happens today ain’t going to affect you in August or September,” Portis said. “I’d rather be in the Bahamas or Jamaica right now, but I’m not.”

Neither is Moss, whom Portis said is eager to join the Redskins if a much-enhanced contract — he’s due to make $448,000 in the final year of his rookie deal — can be negotiated.

“Santana is trying to get his deal done,” Portis said. “He wants to be here now. He calls me every day saying, ‘Whatcha all do today?’ I’m like, ‘Man, we’re doing the same thing you’re doing, running and working out. You’re not missing nothing.’ ”

Notes — Gibbs and Redskins owner Dan Snyder each said they believe the bitterness expressed toward the organization last week by LaVar Arrington will disappear once the Pro Bowl linebacker is recovered from his second knee surgery in less than seven months. Arrington accused the Redskins of forcing him to play hurt. …

Gibbs noted that, despite having five coaches, including himself, who are at least 62, the Redskins are just eighth in average staff age at 48.6 years, according to the NFL Coaches Association.

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