WASHINGTON -- A day after skipping practice following his
arrest on a drunken driving charge, Washington Redskins rookie
safety Sean Taylor was granted an excused absence Friday. In fact,
the team told him to stay away until Monday.
Taylor will be inactive for Sunday's game against the Green Bay
Packers, the fallout from being charged with driving under the
influence and refusing a breathalyzer test after being stopped by a
Virginia trooper early Thursday.
Taylor was not at Redskins Park for Friday's practice. Coach Joe
Gibbs said the No. 5 overall draft pick will not be at Saturday's
walkthrough or Sunday's game.
"He's not going to play this weekend, so I think it's good for
him from a standpoint of media attention for the team and all that
kind of stuff," Gibbs said. "It'd be better for the rest of us to
spend the rest of the week concentrating on Green Bay."
The Redskins have to handle Taylor's situation carefully because
they can't directly punish him over the charges unless he admits to
them or is found guilty. However, Gibbs can penalize Taylor for
missing Thursday's practice and team meetings without notice.
Taylor was stopped by a state trooper around 2:45 a.m. Thursday.
The whole episode violated the No. 1 rule Gibbs gave his players at
the beginning of the season: Don't embarrass the Redskins.
"I realize we're dealing with young guys," Gibbs said. "They
make mistakes. In general, we trust them. They're real
professional. You've got to be smart. You've got a lot of time to
vacation, be with your family or whatever. During the season it's
the time when you're trying to be focused on football."
Taylor's absence leaves the Redskins without their two top
safeties. Matt Bowen is out for the season with a knee injury,
leaving Ryan Clark and Andre Lott -- with just seven career NFL
starts between them -- as the probable starters against the Packers.
In other news, the Redskins released tight end Fred Baxter,
giving him an injury settlement after he injured his hamstring in
practice this week. Baxter wasn't even around for one game, having
been signed after Walter Rasby was cut following a poor blocking
performance against Chicago.
Second-year player Robert Royal is the only tight end left on
the roster, although the Redskins have three H-backs who can fill
the tight end role.
Baxter was replaced on the roster by linebacker Brandon Barnes,
who was promoted from the practice squad. Linebacker Billy Strother
was signed to the practice squad.
Meanwhile, defensive end Phillip Daniels was upgraded to
probable on the injury report, making it likely he will return to
the lineup after missing four games with an injured groin.