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Taylor Ready for New Challenge In NFL

Posted Jul 27, 2004

Sean Taylor walked into Tuesday’s press conference dressed casually and with a relaxed look on his face.

The "business side" of pro football had finally worked itself out and Taylor was ready to begin his NFL career.

"I’m real happy to be here," he said. "I’m real happy to have all of the business side out of the way and all of the agent issues out of the way, and just get back to old football. That’s what I’m here to do--play football. I’m happy to become one more of the players in the legacy of Washington football."

Taylor, of course, was the Redskins first-round draft pick (fifth overall) last April.

At the University of Miami (Fla.), he was a unanimous All-America first-team selection and a finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award, given annually to the nation’s top defensive back.

The 6-2, 231-pound free safety, who switched to uniform No. 37 on Tuesday after wearing No. 36 during off-season mini-camps, will bring a combination of size, speed and strength to the Redskins defense, as well as his abilities as a playmaker and intimidator in the secondary.

He started 12 games for the Hurricanes last year, compiling 77 tackles, 13 pass deflections, 10 interceptions and three touchdowns.

"Sean was the best person in the draft to help our football team," head coach Joe Gibbs said. "I can remember we put on the championship game from his sophomore year and he flashed all over the place.

"The more we kept looking at film of him, we just really felt that he was someone who would add something to our football team."

Now that Taylor is in the fold, he’ll have to get up to speed quickly. The Redskins will host a practice on Wednesday. After a day off on Thursday, players report to training camp on Friday.

The official start of training camp, with the first practices open to the public, is Saturday, July 31.

"I just want to go out and be the football player that I can be and have fun with my teammates," Taylor said. "There are no great expectations from me. I’m going out on the field to do what I can do to help the Redskins win.

"I’m not going to go outside of that and try to be the whole team. I’m just going to be Sean Taylor."

Defensive backs are often tested by opposing quarterbacks in their rookie seasons. Taylor said that he welcomed the challenge.

"As you go up from every level, you have to earn your stripes," he said. "Of course teams will go after you because they feel you don’t know as much, that you’re more capable of making mistakes and that your technique is not all there. You just have to have a thick skin and an open mind."

During training camp, Taylor will get his first NFL action trying to stop his friend and fellow Miami Hurricane alum Clinton Portis. As a pass defender, he’ll be covering the likes of Laveranues Coles and Rod Gardner.

Coles said on Tuesday that he has been impressed with Taylor’s ability from the get-go.

"During the times that I’ve watched him, he has moved exceptionally well," Coles said. "He’s a big guy. He’s very deceptive when you see him. He looks like a linebacker but he moves like a defensive back. He runs extremely well. I think he’s a great athlete."

 

 

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