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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Several in NFL get bad reviews

Barry Wilner Associated Press

NFL players haven’t had much trouble making headlines this June. They’re doing so by, well, getting into trouble.

On one day, three defensive backs were in the news because of off-field problems. Redskins safety Sean Taylor, facing a felony charge of aggravated assault with a firearm in Miami, was excused from the rest of the team’s off-season meetings and practices. Colts safety Mike Doss was sentenced to community service in Akron, Ohio, after pleading no contest to gun charges. Teammate Nick Harper spent two days in jail after being charged with hitting his wife.

The next day, Vikings running back Onterrio Smith was suspended by the NFL for the 2005 season for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. It was Smith, remember, who during a security search at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport in April, was found with vials of dried urine and a device called “The Original Whizzinator,” designed to beat drug tests.

Also, former NFL quarterback Todd Marinovich was ordered to attend a six-month drug rehabilitation program for violating terms of his probation. And Lions defensive end Kalimba Edwards was arraigned for resisting arrest and failing to produce a driver’s license after police made a traffic stop.

All in the last week or so.

At least one player, Giants receiver Plaxico Burress, got out of any trouble when a Pennsylvania district judge withdrew an arrest warrant after it was determined he did not owe $90,000 in local back wage taxes.

The most worrisome situation might be Taylor’s. He could face at least three years in jail if convicted of the felony charge in Florida, which for several years has cracked down on crimes involving firearms.

While the Redskins repeatedly have claimed they thoroughly investigated Taylor’s makeup and background before selecting him with the fifth overall pick in the 2004 draft, his series of off-field incidents have drawn more attention than his play.

Indeed, it’s been a very difficult year or so since that draft for Miami Hurricanes teammates Taylor and Kellen Winslow Jr., who went to Cleveland one pick after Taylor. Winslow broke his leg in the second game of the ‘04 season and missed the remainder of the schedule. Then he tore up his knee while being thrown from a motorcycle and will be out this season. He also could lose a large portion of his signing bonus for a six-year, $40 million deal because Winslow violated the “dangerous activities” portion of his contract.

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