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Sean Taylor begins his Reign in NFL


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2 Interceptions in his 1st Pre-Season game. 1 taken back for a touchdown.

 

CANTON, Ohio (AP) -- It was exhausting and exhilarating. And it was fun.

 

Joe Gibbs returned to NFL coaching Monday night, guiding the Washington Redskins to a 20-17 victory over the Denver Broncos in the Hall of Fame game. While hardly an artistic masterpiece, the win was significant to the coach who already is enshrined in Canton.

 

 

Sean Taylor plays like a top-five pick, intercepting two passes -- including one for a touchdown.

 

"It means a lot for me, because our guys worked extremely hard in the offseason and they went out and played extremely hard," Gibbs said. "And we had to overcome some adversity.

 

"We were kind of nervous and uptight. It meant a lot to us, probably more than to Denver. It's a tough deal over there, but it was fun being back."

 

Gibbs' Redskins -- it's been 12 years since anyone could call them that -- won on a last-second, 39-yard field goal by backup Ola Kimrin. But Gibbs saw enough mistakes to fill an entire preseason. And then some.

 

Still, the Redskins marched efficiently to the winning kick behind third-string quarterback Tim Hasselbeck, offsetting a long night of general inefficiency.

 

"It's a learning process, and that's the best thing about it," Gibbs said. "It's a little different to be back in the heat of battle, like taking a mental test. You really struggle when you can't get things going."

 

The Broncos were even worse for most of the game, although that franchise's only Hall of Famer, John Elway, certainly couldn't complain. His weekend was made on Sunday, when he was inducted into the shrine along with Barry Sanders, Carl Eller and Bob Brown.

 

Fourth-string quarterback Mike Quinn led Denver's 13-play, 58-yard drive that was capped by a 2-yard TD pass to Jeb Putzier and drew the Broncos to 17-15. Quinn hit Charlie Adams for the 2-point conversion to tie it.

 

Back came Washington, with a 35-yard pass from Hasselbeck to Darnerien McCants sparking the winning march. Backup kicker Kimrin didn't flinch on his attempt, and Gibbs was a winner again.

 

"It feels good to get us out of there a little earlier," Kimrin said with a laugh.

 

Many Broncos fans who filled Fawcett Stadium for the ceremony Sunday were back in their No. 7 jerseys and they saluted their hero with loud cheers when he was introduced before the game and at halftime. But there were no Hall of Fame quality performances on the field, only the usual collection of errors for an opening exhibition game. Penalties galore, fumbles, interceptions, drops and poor timing slowed matters to a crawl.

 

Safety Sean Taylor, Washington's first-round selection (fifth overall), had a strong debut, though. He picked off fellow rookie Matt Mauck twice, scoring from the 3 on the second interception.

 

Taylor stepped in front of Putzier, grabbed the pass and sauntered into the end zone for a 10-9 lead in the third quarter.

 

"I saw it coming and I made the play," Taylor said. "I'm here to make big plays."

 

Taylor's work was one of the few things Gibbs could be pleased with, along with the final drive. It's too early in his return to anticipate much more.

 

Still, watching the Redskins and Broncos in this game had to remind Gibbs of seeing his NASCAR drivers, Bobby Labonte and Tony Stewart, getting flat tires.

 

Worst of all, Redskins right tackle Jon Jansen ruptured his left Achilles tendon in the first quarter and likely will miss the season.

 

"I've never missed a practice or a game," said Jansen, supporting himself on crutches in the locker room. "It's disappointing, especially with a new coaching staff and we have a lot of expectations and excitement."

 

Washington appeared to put the game away on Hasselbeck's 33-yard TD pass to Gari Scott with 6:54 to go. But Quinn had other ideas.

 

"Overall, I was fairly pleased," Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said. "We did move the ball. But we did make too many mistakes, including one very big turnover. We can't have so many dropped balls. I lost count of how many."

 

Although each team was sloppy from the outset, there were enough big plays by the regulars to produce some early points -- field goals.

 

Shawn Springs, signed to replace cornerback Champ Bailey after Bailey was traded to Denver for Clinton Portis, intercepted Jake Plummer's pass on the Broncos' first series. Bailey's sticky coverage of Laveranues Coles on a third-down pass forced an incompletion, and the Redskins settled for John Hall's 39-yard field goal.

 

Jason Elam tied it with his own 39-yarder on the next series after Quentin Griffin, Portis' successor as Denver's starting tailback, had runs of 27 and 16 yards.

 

Elam added field goals of 40 and 47 yards.

 

Otherwise, it was a melange of mistakes for both sides. For much of the game, Gibbs and Shanahan stood with their arms folded or paced their sidelines, watching the flow of yellow flags.

 

In all, there were 22 penalties for 189 yards. Dozens of other infractions either were declined or offset each other.

 

 

Game notes

Gibbs became the second man already enshrined to coach in the Hall of Fame game. Paul Brown did it in 1975. ... Griffin finished with 46 yards on six carries. Portis had 11 on four rushes. ... Starting QBs Plummer (5-for-8 for 24 yards) and Mark Brunell (4-for-8 for 18 yards) weren't particularly impressive in short stints. ... Denver LB Jashon Sykes sprained his left knee, while star DE Trevor Pryce banged his left knee, but was able to walk it off. WR Darius Watts has a sore shoulder.

 

 

Phillip Rivers - Chargers talks breakdown

Negotiations between the San Diego Chargers and first-round choice Philip Rivers broke off Sunday night after Rivers' agent, Jimmy Sexton, failed to meet a 5 p.m. deadline to accept what appears to be the Chargers' final offer.

 

 

 

 

"Negotiations have broken down," Chargers general manager A.J. Smith said. "Prior to the training camp report date, we made an effort to get Philip signed. Also, during the past week, we exchanged ideas and could not come to an agreement. On Friday, we offered a great deal to Philip. We also notified both Philip and his agent, Jimmy Sexton, that the offer will stand until 5 p.m. Sunday evening and if not accepted, the final offer will be pulled off the table."

 

 

According to sources, the Chargers' offer was six years -- worth slightly over $40.4 million -- although sources close to Rivers say the deal is worth around $39 million. Rivers was the fourth player selected in the NFL draft following a trade involving the Giants that enabled New York to get Eli Manning.

 

 

Both sides appeared to be close on the guaranteed portion of the contract. Until the last proposal, Rivers would receive $14 million in guarantees plus another $2 million in a hidden bonus that he should be able to trigger. There were disagreements on how $9 million more of incentives would be triggered.

 

 

"The offer we made to Philip is not a slot offer at No. 4, but in fact, an offer that exceeds [those of] No. 2 Robert Gallery and No. 3 Admin Fitzgerald. We believe it's a great offer. Jimmy Sexton has been informed several times that the Eli Manning-Tom Condon deal with the New York Giants was of no concern to us before, no concern now nor will it be in the future. This is very unfortunate and disappointing but it is what it is."

 

 

Sexton felt progress was made over the weekend when he decided to stop asking for more than the base value of the Manning contract, which is worth $45 million over six years, excluding another $9 million in incentives and escalators. According to two sources, Rivers lowered his demand to $44 million over six years and agreed to take the structure Manning had in his contract.

 

 

"It's a shame the club decided to do this," Sexton said of the Chargers' position to go public and take a hard-line stance. "I don't think it helps to get a deal. All they have done over the weekend is keep making ultimatums."

 

 

The strange part of his holdout is that both sides moved closer to a deal over the weekend. By coming below the Manning contract, Rivers is within $3 million to $4 million of a contract if the Chargers' offer is better than the Fitzgerald deal.

 

 

Gallery is expected to make $40.5 million over seven years but has some huge incentives and escalators over the backside of the contract. Fitzgerald is supposed to make $40.4 million over six years, but there is a $12.5 million payment in the final year of the contract. The Chargers didn't like that deal because of a bigger backside for incentives.

 

 

To further fuel the possibility of a long holdout, the Chargers are threatening to start taking money off the table soon.

 

 

"We also informed them that the package we talked about and offered will now only go down in value," Smith said.

 

 

These were the final words the Chargers said they will discuss for the Rivers contract negotiations.

 

 

"It's now time to concentrate on the players we have here and get ready for our preseason game and gear our efforts to get ready for the opener against Houston," Smith said. "From this time forward, I will not talk about the Philip Rivers contract situation anymore. I hope I've made our position very clear. If he decides to sign a contract with the San Diego Chargers, then I'll be more than happy to talk about Philip Rivers."

 

 

John Clayton is a senior writer for ESPN.com

 

 

Giants Part-Owner has Tumor

ESPN.com news services

NEW YORK -- New York Giants co-owner Robert Tisch has an inoperable brain tumor, several New York newspapers reported Monday and a family spokesman confirmed.

 

 

 

 

He was diagnosed within the last week after observers noted Tisch, 78, was having memory problems, sources told The Daily News.

 

 

The New York Daily News, Newsday and New York Post reported that Tisch, the 78-year-old billionaire chairman of the Loews Corp., has brain cancer. The Daily News and Post, citing unidentified sources, said he has an inoperable tumor.

 

 

"Mr. Tisch has started treatment," family spokesman Howard Rubenstein said in a statement given to The Daily News.

 

 

No other details would be released, Rubenstein said.

 

 

The Giants would not comment on Monday out of respect for the wishes of Tisch's family. A call to Rubenstein seeking comment early Tuesday was not immediately returned.

 

 

Forbes listed Tisch's worth at $2.3 billion last year. Tisch, who owns the Giants along with Wellington Mara, was postmaster general of the United States from 1986-88.

 

 

It is not clear what plans have been made for Tisch's 50 percent share in the team, which he purchased in 1991 for $75 million.

 

 

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report

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