- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 3, 2006

VIRGINIA BEACH — Although the attention wasn’t as intense, Mike Sellers can kind of relate to what Sean Taylor went through in the last year when he faced three felony assault charges.

In 2001, Sellers, then with the Cleveland Browns, was arrested and charged with cocaine possession and myriad misdemeanors after a traffic stop. He was suspended and then released by the Browns and thought his NFL career was over. He signed with Winnipeg of the CFL. The charges were dropped, and now Sellers is entering his third season with the Redskins.

Sellers’ advice for Taylor, who accepted a plea bargain Thursday in Miami:

“For me, it was a matter of getting past it and I think he’s already started doing that,” Sellers said. “He’s gotten all of the legalities out of the way and for him, this was the best way to get it over with.”

Taylor, who was placed on 18 months probation, was not among the players who signed autographs at the Virginia Beach Convention Center yesterday, the opening day of the Redskins Beach Blitz.

But when offseason workouts resume Tuesday and a three-day mini-camp starts June 16, Taylor is expected to attend.

Safeties coach Steve Jackson said there was a sigh of relief when Taylor’s plea included no jail time.

“There was, not for the football part but more so for him as a person,” Jackson said. “He’s changed a lot since he got here and especially since this thing started [last June]. Now he can put it behind him and show the kind of person he’s become.”

Said assistant head coach-defense Gregg Williams: “I’m very happy that everything legally has been handled for Sean and I felt confident about it the whole time. I’ve said it over and over — he’s one of my favorite people that I’ve coached and I take it personally in trying to help him mature. I look forward to really good years from now on for Sean.”

Unlike last year, when Taylor prepared for the season in south Florida, he has been a regular at Redskin Park this offseason.

“You could tell on his face that this was bugging him a little bit, but it would bug anybody facing jail time,” Sellers said. “But now he can come back to stay, practice with us and not have to worry about it.”

The only worry left for Taylor is discipline from the NFL. Since the league adopted an anti-crime policy in 2000, several players have been suspended for misdemeanors and felonies or fined for their transgressions.

Taylor could be suspended for the Redskins’ opener Sept. 11 against Minnesota.

Asked if he believed Taylor has been scared straight, safety Pierson Prioleau said: “I believe in people growing up. People make mistakes and bad decisions and it’s unfortunate those things happened. But it’s good to see that things got worked out and we’re glad that it looks like he’ll be with us this year.”

Jackson has been Taylor’s position coach since he was drafted by the Redskins in 2004.

“He was a very, very young player when he came here and there wasn’t an instruction booklet for coming out of college early, going number five in the draft and how you’re supposed to act,” Jackson said. “He made some mistakes, but he’s improved and he’s turning into a man.”

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