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Washington safety Sean Taylor has enjoyed his quietest preseason of his career, avoiding any off-the-field trouble.
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Date published: 8/10/2007
ASHBURN--Sean Taylor sat on a bench outside the Redskins training facility after a recent practice. He scraped his cleats against the ground and stared straight ahead.
There were writers and television reporters in the area, and they had all but given up hope of speaking to the Pro Bowl safety. For several days, Taylor called off his tentative press conferences with a simple 'no' or a shake of the head.
As Taylor sat there, three boys who appeared to be about 10 years old walked by. Unsure whether they should speak to him, they stared at him for a minute.
"Hi guys," Taylor said, smiling. "What's your names?"
They told him their names. He nodded his head.
"I'm Sean," Taylor said.
They knew exactly who he was. He asked if they enjoyed watching practice, and they said they did. They were star-struck. He pleasantly waved goodbye.
Despite an unending reluctance to speak to the media and have his voice heard, Taylor remains one of the Redskins that fans clamor over more than most others.
He's young, he played at the University of Miami and he is one of the most powerful hitters on the NFL. And all of that seems to have fans quite intrigued.
Throughout training camp, Taylor has signed autographs and made small-talk with fans, especially children. It might be a concerted effort to change his image, but it also might just be Taylor.
"I think every guy has their own little way of carrying on and being what they are," wide receiver Santana Moss said. "I think people put a little too much focus on what he's doing. He's not doing anything different. He's just being himself, and he comes like this every year. And then people get surprised. For what?"
This is one of the rare training camps that Taylor is not carrying any cloud of controversy.
The missteps early in his career have been well-documented. He was fined $25,000 for skipping a mandatory rookie symposium. He was arrested and charged with drunken driving, though the charges were later dismissed. He spit on an opponent during a playoff game. And he pleaded no contest to two misdemeanors in an assault case.
This season, Taylor is coming off his first Pro Bowl and he reported to training camp in top shape and without any off-the-field controversies.