The top three officers of the Washington Redskins, president Edward Bennett Williams, first vice president and majority stockholder Jack Kent Cooke and George Allen, vice president, general manager and head coach, were absent today as the National Football League executives meeting began.
The Redskins were represented by Tim Temerario, director of player personnel and executive assistant to Allen, and Robert A. Schulman, a Washington, D.C., tax attorney and member of the Redskins' board of directors.
Schulman said Williams is occupied with a trial and possibly the Inauguration. Temerario said that Allen was not attending because, "one, he does not like to come to these meetings and two, because of his contract situation."
Allen has a season to go on the seven-year contract he signed at a reported $125,000 annually when he came to the Redskins from the Los Angeles Rams. Williams has said he wants Allen back and Allen has said he would like to continue coaching in Washington.
But since Allen signed what was then regarded as a very lucurative contract in 1971, other coaches have received more money for coming directly from the college ranks to pro ball.
Chuck Fairbanks reportedly received something like $200,000 a year at New England; Dick Vermeil reportedly got $175,000 at Philadelphia and John McKay is said to have received $250,000 plus other benefits, at Tampa Bay.
The consensus is that Allen will be back with the Redskins, but not unless certain conditions are met in new contract.
Joe Thomas, general manager in Baltimore, is here amid reports that he will not be back with the Colts. Asked about that today, Thomas said, "I don't know."
He has asked permission from owner Bob Irsay to talk to other clubs, one of them the Atlanta Falcons. Irsay and Thomas sat at different tables at a brunch today for the club executives.
Thomas is said to be asking for a five-year contract starting at something like $280,000 annually and reaching $355,000 by the fourth year. Three players are ready to play out their option years because they could not negotiate what they regarded as suitable raises from Thomas.
They are wide receiver Roger Carr, defensive end John Dutton and offensive tackle George Kunz, all AFC allstars and all represented by attorney, Howard Slusser of Los Angeles, formerly of Silver Spring, Md.
Ted Marchibroda and general manager Thomas have been at odds since before the coach quit the team over "front office interference" in the exhibition season. After Marchibroda was persuaded to return he was unhappy about not being provided high quality help in the defensive backfield, despite the trades of linebacker Mike Curtis, quarterback Marty Domres and offensive tackle Ed George.
The Patriots are trying to arrange an exhibition in Foxboro, Mass., against the Raiders to exploit the controversy over the officiating in their playoff game.
Because there will be no College All-star game for the Super Bowl champion Raiders to play in, and pick up a check for 1/14 of their regular-season salaries they may play seven exhibitions instead of the usual six.
Three clubs, San Diego. New Orleans and Denver already have announced increases in ticket prices for the 1977 season.Others are expected to follow in view of the anticipated rise in expenses either from a new contract with the NFL Players Association or, if there is no contract, and hence no draft, from higher salaries paid college superstars signed as free agents.
Some teams were ready to begin trade talks, with the restrictions on deals ending Tuesday.
Hugh Culverhouse, owner of the Buccaneers, said he hopes there is a draft because if there is not college football may be wrecked by players dropping out to sign free-agent contracts as hardships cases.