Taylor Ready for Football

He fired his agent, waited a few months to hire another one, skipped out on the NFL's rookie symposium and irked coaches by missing some offseason practices. Finally, Sean Taylor and the Redskins had something to smile about: his signing.

And they don't plan on it being the last time they're happy with one another. They're also happy to now start talking about football.

''I'm real happy to be here and have the business side out of the way,'' Taylor said, ''and get back to football . . . and become one of those players to add to the legacy of Washington football.''

It's little short of amazing that Taylor is signed at all. He hired Jeff Moorad and Eugene Mato a week ago, after thinking about doing the negotiations without an agent. The Redskins talked him out of that, however.

''I talked to him quite often,'' Vinny Cerrato said. ''I told Sean, 'I don't care who you sign with, but you need to hire somebody. . . . If you want your money you have to have someone come talk to us.''

Cerrato and Eric Shaffer flew to California to meet with Taylor's representatives. Then Moorad and his partner Scott Parker arrived at Redskins Park on Monday -- an unplanned visit. They started negotiations again in the late afternoon and didn't stop until just before midnight.

What could have been a holdout and a bad start to Taylor's career ended up with all sides smooching one another. It seemed genuine. And the Redskins like that Taylor is the only player in the top nine to be signed.

''You have to give credit to the agent,'' Cerrato said. ''We're appreciative that they'd pull the trigger and not worry about what everyone else says or is [slotted]. Otherwise we'd still be waiting for a long time for Sean to be here. . . . It couldn't have worked out better with who he chose.''

Moorad said, ''The bold move was Vinny and Eric coming to see us. That put the negotiations on the fast track.''

Now it's up to Taylor to live up to the deal. He'll eventually become the Redskins starting free safety, once he wrestles the job away from Ifeanyi Ohalete. Washington didn't select Taylor with the fifth overall pick to be a No. 3 safety. And his speed likely will land him in the starting lineup real soon.

Once he's there, he knows teams will aim for him.

''At every level you have to earn your stripes,'' Taylor said. ''Some people come at you because they think you don't know much and your technique isn't all there.''

He didn't think his offseason had been a rocky one, either, despite appearances to the contrary.

''Not at all,'' Taylor said. ''It's a transition and there are bumps and bruises. It's how well you shake those things off. You become a better man for it so it's not rough at all. There's just a lot to being a pro athlete. You've got to change a whole bunch of things you do and structure your way of going about your business in another way.''

Taylor did not want to address why he fired Drew Rosenhaus a couple days after the draft, only to say ''it wasn't a good fit for me at that point in time. He's not my type of agent. I got that resolved and we're here today.''

He became testy during his short press conference when asked about the rookie symposium. He was fined $25,000 for leaving after the first day -- the Redskins told him to return. Taylor hinted that he would appeal the fine. But, once more, he didn't want to present his side of the story.

''You just wrote a story without asking my side so I won't give it now,'' Taylor said to a reporter when asked about it (forgetting that with no agent it would be hard to get his side considering no reporter had his number). ''Why clear it up? If you want to clear it up, it should come up another wy before you put it in the streets. You should have gotten it from the horse's mouth -- it would have been a better story.''

But Taylor was fine once that exchange passed, mainly because he's where he wants to be -- and he's here before training camp officially opens.

''I want to have fun and play with my teammates,'' Taylor said. ''I have no great expectation other than to go out and do what I can do. I won't try to be the whole team, I'll just try to be Sean Taylor.''


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