THE PICTURES told it all. Larry Brown leaping, diving, twisting, turning. Larry Brown fighting for that extra yard - or foot - or inch. Larry Brown bloodied, exhausted, in pain. He was like no running back that Washington had ever had - or is likely to see again. Whether carrying the ball of blocking (both of which he did with the same force and fine flair), he moved around with a reckless disregard for his own safety. In a game that does not put a high price on courtesy, he never asked for favors - or offered any - while the ball was in play. He gave the Redskins and their followers all that he had in hime, and a little something extra, for as long as he could. And then when the knees gave way, he had the courage and good sense to recognize that he could no longer do himself justice and to retire - which he did the other day with customary grace, a winner every way.

There is another part of Larry Brown and his kinship to this town that the action shots don't tell. Thousands of kids - many of them young men now - grew to idolize him and, unlike many of the other heroes of sport, he felt an obligation to respond by busying himself in his off time in good works involving the city's youth. Beyond that, he provided the idolatrous young with an example worthy of their attention.

Larry Brown came to Washington as just another player - an eighth-round draft choice. He became a superstar and everybody's favorite more out of grim determination than strict ability. Others were faster, quicker, stronger; few, if any, tried as hard. When the season starts this fall at Kennedy Stadium, we will be among the thousands of Redskins fans show will ache a little over the absence of No. 43 - a number, we assume, that will be retired for a time. Some may console themselves with dreams of a winning season and the newest Hot Prospect. In the meantime, we intend to revel a little in the recollection of those hours of triumph and moments of despair that we shared with Larry Brown. We wanted them, as he did, to last a lot longer. But we are glad to have had them, and we wish him well.