By Steve Czaban Special to Published Jun 08, 2005 at 5:17 AM

{image1} Normally, when somebody steals your vehicle, it's you that calls the police, not the other way around. Apparently, that class session was one Redskins safety Sean Taylor missed when he skipped the NFL's mandatory rookie orientation last summer.

Now, Taylor finds himself in a heap of trouble over two allegedly stolen ATVs and a bad case of Playmakers-itis. The street value of his stolen toys would barely top $20,000 -- even tricked out with leather, navigation, and spinners.

I imagine the legal fees to help him escape a possible three-year mandatory minimum for pulling a gun on the alleged ATV thief have already passed the $20,000 mark. In total, it's hardly worth risking one's entire NFL career over.

Ah, but that would assume an ability by Taylor - and to some extent his entire generation of NFL 'ballers - to make intelligent assessments of responsibility vs. privilege. When you "don't get it" you just "don't get it." And nobody this side of Kellen Winslow II has been failing to "get it" worse then Taylor this summer.

Taylor has been dodging Joe Gibbs' phone calls all spring. For about three days, he was dodging calls from Dade county police, too. Ironic since Taylor's father Pedro is a police chief in nearby Florida City, Florida. Never again will we have such a near-miss chance of having a father arrest his own son for a violent firearm felony. Now wouldn't that make for an exciting family barbecue someday!

Even more ironic would have been if Gibbs finally did get his phone call returned - from Taylor in the holding tank!

Former Redskin Tre Johnson - a reportedly "smart" guy with a master's degree from Temple - said the most idiotic thing on Fox 5 locally here on Monday. Tre cheerfully reminded us non-athletes that this was not a good time to get in trouble since Taylor was hoping to re-negotiate his contract.

Oh. I'd presume then that the best time to wave a gun in somebody's face, is right after you negotiate a new deal.

And Taylor is just the latest NFL player to live in his own fantasy world of rules that apply to everybody else but him. Kellen Winslow II went head over motorcycle to end his sophomore season with the Browns before it even began. Now he's gonna be shocked to find out that the Browns might just pull back a large chunk of his signing bonus.

The bizarre episode of "Kellen Knievel" and his high profile, Hall of Fame father took another dramatic turn last week. Try to follow along. The Browns were holding a charity dinner to honor the 1964 NFL Championship team - a function that a clown like K-II belonged at about as much as Hideki Irabu would at a dinner for the 1961 Yankees. Jim Brown told the media that Kellen II would actually speak to the media about his accident.

So what really happened? Both Winslows show up, neither one chooses to speak to the assembled Cleveland media (who were just trying to do their job), and then Winslow the elder lashes out at the same media for "making it a circus."

Well, unless they sold popcorn and set up a human cannon on the front yard, I would say it all falls short of a true "circus." Winslow didn't owe the media anything after his reckless "I'll do what I want, contract restrictions be damned" stunt. But if he wanted to show some real balls, he would have faced the music head on right after he got home from the hospital.

Call a press conference. Step up to the microphones. Answer every question. Be accountable. That never happened. Probably never will.

The invincible Winslow called himself "a soldier" while playing for the Hurricanes, and "the chosen one" once he was drafted. Getting on a powerful motorcycle and trying out stunts he saw professionals doing just the day before didn't scare him. But a bunch of microphones and notebooks were just too daunting.


Kellen's dad insisted that 21-year-olds make mistakes. Just like 45-year-old presidents and everyone else in life. That's fine. True mistakes earn honest sympathy. It doesn't absolve the one who made it from the consequences.

I wanted to ask Winslow Sr. what exactly was his son's "mistake." Was it falling off the bike, or getting on it in the first place? To me, the former would qualify as a mistake, the latter qualifies as a willful violation of his terms of employment.

If the Browns had taken Winslow's 2005 salary to Las Vegas, and blown it at the craps table, imagine K-II's outrage. Yet that's what he's done to them. And somehow he and his father can't grasp the public disgust.

I'm all for players today making every single penny they can. Especially while playing a game that is violent, debilitating and ruthlessly slanted in favor of the owners. The big time NFL studs should command exorbitant dollars.

But who isn't getting a little tired of seeing these idiots throw their money and, sometimes careers, away?

When Taylor missed that rookie seminar it cost him $25,000 - or in terms he can understand, at least three brand new ATVs. When Taylor chose to wear red socks with Clinton Portis in violation of the NFL dress code, it clipped him $3,000 per week.

Does he have any idea what a good defense attorney will cost?

Speaking of Portis, he finally settled out of court Monday with former teammate Ifeyani Ohalete regarding a $40,000 deal to buy the "rights" to the Redskins #26 jersey. Ohalete had the smarts to get Portis to sign a simple contract in writing. So when Clinton got alligator arms on the back half of the 40K about a year ago, the now Arizona Cardinal took him to court.

What was the "settlement" Portis finally agreed to? A small discount of $18,000 instead of $20,000 owed. All that trouble and drama was worth a $2,000 give back to Portis? Man, sometimes these players are downright penny pinchers!

It's apparent that nobody ever taught them the concept of being "penny wise and pound foolish."

Steve Czaban Special to

Steve is a native Washingtonian and has worked in sports talk radio for the last 11 years. He worked at WTEM in 1993 anchoring Team Tickers before he took a full time job with national radio network One-on-One Sports.

A graduate of UC Santa Barbara, Steve has worked for WFNZ in Charlotte where his afternoon show was named "Best Radio Show." Steve continues to serve as a sports personality for WLZR in Milwaukee and does fill-in hosting for Fox Sports Radio.