Glory to Garbage, the Spartan Nation exclusive story about the Washington Redskins Sean Taylor!

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Sean Taylor: A Seesaw Career

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BY MATT BENJAMIN

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2004 NFL Draft

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(ding ding ding ding ding ding ding ding)

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Paul Tagliabue : “It is my pleasure to announce that with the 5th pick in the 2004 NFL entry draft the Washington Redskins select Sean Taylor. Safety out of the University of Miami.”

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Washington Redskin Fan Goes Wild (Sean soon will too, illegally)

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Rookie Season

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Coming out of the University of Miami, Taylor had quite the reputation. In his junior year he compiled ten interceptions, returning three of them for touchdowns. With no off-field trouble to report in college the Redskins signed the “All-American” for seven-years, paying him just over 2 million per year (18 million for all seven).Â

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Things would soon change, at least off the field.

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It didn’t take long for him to make an impact as a starting free safety. In only his third game with Washington he got the nod, and finished his inaugural season in a Redskin’s uniform collecting the team’s second most interceptions (4). This was overshadowed because, on October 27, he was arrested for driving under the influence after leaving a party intoxicated that honored Rod Gardner’s birthday. Although the charges have since been dropped, it was an early indication of the trouble to follow.

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His rookie season did not end without more controversy as he would fire two of his agents, walk out during a mandatory NFL rookie symposium (which he received a fine) and be accused of spitting on a Cincinnati Bengals player (although this charge would eventually be dropped because it lacked tangible proof).Â

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As the starter in the remaining twelve games on the schedule in 2004 he gathered eighty-nine tackles, two forced fumbles and one sack, as well as the previously mentioned interceptions. Â

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Still, one has to wonder if an impressive rookie season on the field trumps a dismal rookie season off the field. Taylor was slowly deteriorating his reputation, maybe not as a football player, but as a person. He was beginning to give the public a choice; either appreciate him for his defensive IQ or neglect him for his incorrigible behavior.  Â

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Unless he changed? Could he learn to behave while still being a force on the field in 2005? That would win back the fans that initially parted ways. While also allowing the rest of us to believe Taylor was just having a rookie-season-brain-fart, and his behavior, although not inexcusable, should be forgiven.Â

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2005 – Same Story Different Chapter
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Well, so much for that.Â

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It didn’t take long for Taylor to get back to his old ways. In May 2005, while seeking a new contract, he refused to appear at a mini-camp training session. Coach Gibbs tried to contact Taylor, but was unable to reach him, as he wouldn’t return any of the coach’s calls.Â

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Around this time, Gibbs was quick to defend the drafting of Taylor, as he acknowledged, “it was one of the most researched things in the history of sports.”Â

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There are two ways to understand this statement. One, Gibbs is acknowledging that Taylor has off-field problems but when they drafted him he came in with a clean-slate and the organization shouldn’t be blamed for his recent troubles because they couldn’t predict he would blow up with the law at the professional level.Â

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Or two, Gibbs is hinting to the fact that Taylor was drafted for his football skills, and since he has delivered in that department exceptionally, Taylor’s personal life shouldn’t be of anyone else’s concern, but his own.  Â

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Most likely, Gibb’s was trying to express a combination of the two in his statement.

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As the Redskins moved through off-season workouts during the 2005 summer, trouble lurked. On June 3, Taylor was “named publicly as a ‘person of interest’ by Miami-Dade County police.” Two days later, on June 5, Taylor turned himself into the police and was charged with aggravated assault with a firearm, a felony, and a misdemeanor battery.Â

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Gibbs, still defending this choice?

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The trail still has not been held. It has most recently been postponed to June 10, 2006 from March 3 because of conflicts with Passover and Easter. At that point Taylor will face anywhere from sixteen to forty-six years in prison. Although it is said it is unlikely for Taylor to receive the steepest of penalties.Â

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That means throughout the entirety of the 2005-06 campaign Taylor had to fight through the pending trail and allegations to maintain focus if he was ultimately going to help the Redskin’s as he did for the duration of his rookie year.Â

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He passed with flying colors.

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It was no accident that the Washington Redskins found themselves in the post-season on January 7, 2006. Moreover, it was also no accident that it was partly because of their defense. Moreover, moreover, it was no accident that Sean Taylor was a big part of it. He finished the regular season with two interceptions, seventy tackles, one sack, two forced fumbles and one fumble returned for a touchdown.Â

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Gibbs, now your happy with him again, aren’t you?

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Rightfully so, the Wild Card game that the Washington Redskins played in, in the 2006 playoffs, featured the epitome of Taylor’s young career. In that game Taylor was able to scoop up a loose ball and return it for a touchdown. That helped to provide the margin of victory the Redskins needed to overcome the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Of course, that was coupled with a bad choice. During the game he was ejected for spitting on Buccaneers running back Michael Pittman. This time the charge was not dropped and he was fined 17,000 dollars.Â

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Although Taylor has only completed his second season, his trends are beginning to get familiar.

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A second season in the books. A second chance for Gibbs to defend his draft choice. A second phenomenal season on the field. A second below-mediocre season off the field, filled with more controversy.Â


 

What The Future Holds

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Clearly, much of Sean Taylor’s future is dependent on his upcoming trail in June (assuming it doesn’t get postponed again).Â

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Pending the verdict, Taylor may have a chance to make amends with his tarnished off the field reputation.Â

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Pending the verdict, Taylor may get a chance to continue his impressive work on the field, with aspirations of leading his team back to the playoffs.

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It is unfortunate such a bright star has to have his career come down to a jury decision.Â

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It is unfortunate an organization has to cross their fingers in hopes that they will get their star defensive player back for the 2006-07 season.Â

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What is to come of Taylor’s situation is impossible to predict.

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However, if it is any indication, we can look no further than Taylor’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus. Rosenhaus is the agent for that controversial wide-receiver Terrell Owens.Â

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Is it possible that Rosenhaus is trouble and then he passes it on to his clients? Doubtful. The Rosenhaus comparison is merely a coincidence. But Taylor doesn’t want a reputation like that of Owens. The only thing he should want that Owens has, is his freedom and a chance to play. Soon enough, we will find out if he will get that.