National Football League players, after a vote early in the day by union representatives of the 28 teams, ended their strike and returned to work yesterday only to have league management tell them they would not be paid their salaries for the week or allowed to play in games Sunday and Monday.

Even before NFL Players Association Executive Director Gene Upshaw notified the Management Council that the 24-day strike was over, 11 teams, led by the Washington Redskins, attempted to report to practice yesterday, only to be rebuffed by team officials because of a Management Council directive. The teams said they will use replacement players for the third week in a row.

"I want them back, but, under the strictures of the National Football League, they cannot play Monday night {against the Dallas Cowboys}," Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke said.

Later in the day, the NFLPA, unable to reach a back-to-work agreement with management, filed an antitrust suit against the league and all its teams in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis. The suit seeks to test the validity of the recently expired collective bargaining agreement, including restrictions on free agency and the existence of the college draft.

"We did what we had to do," Upshaw said at a late-afternoon news conference. "We tried bargaining. Now we'll let the courts decide . . . It's unfair to the players to continue making great sacrifices that they have made in the face of blatant monopoly powers."

The executive committee of the owners' Management Council said in a statement there would be no comment on the lawsuit "until we have read it." A spokesman for the council, John Jones, said the 1982 collective bargaining agreement, which expired Aug. 31, will remain in effect.

"What happened today is a microcosm of what the whole strike's been about," said Redskins kicker Ali Haji-Sheikh. "They tell us whatever the hell they want to tell us and we have to abide by it."

Jim Conway, general counsel for the Management Council, said that, by letting the returning strikers play this week, the owners would suffer "a double whammy" financially, "with diminished revenues and double costs," since the replacement players also would be paid. Team officials cited the possibility of injury and lack of conditioning as reasons why the regulars would not play.

"There was a very strong feeling among owners and coaches alike that this would be the right thing to do, from a safety standpoint and from a performance standpoint. It wouldn't be a good thing to try and have them come in, after four weeks away from football, on a Friday and play Sunday and Monday.

"When the Management Council called around and talked to all the clubs, it was just about unanimous."

Late last night, the Redskins' Cooke said, "I don't disagree. The incidence of injury is considerably heightened with such a short preparatory period."

The Redskins made their decision to return to work at a stormy 20-minute team meeting yesterday morning at the Ramada Renaissance hotel near Redskin Park. There, they reaffirmed an earlier position to return to work, in spite of the official union stance that the strike was still on. Their decision was reached during a debate that included teammates yelling obscenities, observers said.

Last night, Redskins Coach Joe Gibbs called his regular players back to Redskin Park for another meeting and told them they would be allowed to use the club's facilities in the mornings and that the replacement players would work out in the afternoons. "Things were straightened out," said center Russ Grimm. "There were no hard feelings."

Without a back-to-work agreement, the Management Council held firm to its 1 p.m. Wednesday deadline for striking players to return and be eligible to play and be paid their salaries. Jones said early in the day that the owners might change their minds if an agreement was reached.

Redskins center Jeff Bostic, responding to a question last night during an interview on WTTG-TV-5, said the reason the Redskins strikers chose to return yesterday instead of before the 1 p.m. Wednesday deadline for reporting was that, "We were under the impression the deadline could be moved back."

The hangup in reaching an agreement centered on the expiration date for an extension of the 1982 collective bargaining agreement. The union wanted it to end Feb. 1, so it would not be in effect for the 1988 season; the owners wanted an expiration of June 16, the day after the deadline for players whose personal contracts have expired to receive offers from new teams.

Upshaw said he sent Jack Donlan, the owners' chief negotiatior, a telegram informing him the strike was over, the players were ready to play this week and should be allowed to do so for the benefit of the fans. The Management Council rejected this proposal, saying in an early evening statement:

"We are pleased that the NFL players have returned to their clubs and ended the strike. The clubs are in the process of giving players physical examinations, issuing equipment and taking steps necessary to prepare the returning players for the games of Oct. 25-26. Replacement teams will play this weekend."

But before the Management Council statement, there was confusion around the league about whether the regular or replacement players would be suiting up.

The Seattle Seahawks turned away the bus carrying their replacement team to practice, as players shouted out the windows, "We're fired, we're fired."

In Los Angeles, the Raiders issued practice gear to 31 returning players.

At least two labor lawyers said deadlines imposed during a strike are void once the strike ends, and one said individual players possibly could file suit, claiming they were locked out, their personal services contracts were breached and, therefore, they were free agents.

"It's a strong possibility," NFLPA legal counsel Dick Berthelsen said when asked whether the players might file suit claiming a lockout if they were unable to play or get paid this week.

Berthelsen added: "Jim Conway and Tex Schramm said the players would be allowed to play this weekend if the strike was called off. They said that."

The Management Council's position is that the players are welcome to come back, use club facilities and practice. But they will only be paid the league's per diem rate for training camp, which is $700 per week for veterans and $450 per week for rookies, plus meal money.

The antitrust suit that was filed yesterday hardly came as a surprise to NFL officials.

"The threat was there Sept. 1 {the day after the 1982 collective bargaining agreement expired}," said one senior league official. "They could have done that Sept. 1 and saved the players a lot of money."

The striking players, who will have missed four paychecks if they aren't allowed to play this weekend, will have lost in excess of $85 million in salary.

Berthelsen said the union did not consider filing an antitrust suit in September. "We had to give the bargaining process a chance," Upshaw said. "We exhausted the bargaining system."

The Associated Press reported that the filing of the suit at this time was one of the suggestions made last week by Marvin Miller, retired executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association.

Berthelsen said the suit was filed in Minneapolis for two reasons: That is where Lindquist and Vennum, the NFLPA's legal firm, is located, and because the NFLPA was successful when it filed the John Mackey case there in 1972.

Mackey's victory allowed NFL players to become unrestricted free agents when their contracts expired; the NFLPA subsequently bargained that away for the current system of compensation and right of first refusal.

Berthelsen said the suit was similar to one filed by the NBA Players Association against the National Basketball Association and its teams.

The union can sue at this time because there is no current collective bargaining agreement. The recently expired agreement contains no-strike, no-suit, no-lockout clauses during the term of the agreement.

Players around the league were angered by the turn of events.

"Some people are very, very bitter; not just here, but across the country," said Harry Carson, captain of the Super Bowl-champion New York Giants. "I think they have played hardball since the whole process began. It's everyone's opinion that they were out all along to bust the union, humble the players somewhat."

The players were aware this was a clear management victory.

"It's the end of the Civil War here and they're taking Atlanta," Cris Collinsworth, spokesman for Cincinnati players, said. "Let's get the furniture before it burns, too."

Schramm, the Cowboys' president, said there would be a two-week period in which the replacement players would work out with the returning veterans. He said rosters would be increased, but he wasn't sure by how much.

Some franchises, including Dallas, planned to hold joint workouts for strikers and replacements. Other clubs, worried over rancor between strikers and strike-breakers, planned separate practices.

In Anaheim, Calif., regular Los Angeles Rams shouted, "Scabs, get out of our locker room," as they returned.

The Rams sent the names of 13 players to the league Wednesday as returning, even though they did not return physically until yesterday. But star running back Eric Dickerson, one of those 13, changed his mind yesterday. "I can't take a chance going in behind this offensive line," he said about the Rams' replacement team. Staff writer Christine Brennan contributed to this report.