Some time next month, Calvin Hill will close up his house in Reston, pack his bags and take the family to Hawaii for a vacation. While there, he also will do some serious thinking about his future with the Washington Redskins.
"It would be very difficult for me to go through the kind of season I had last year," Hill said yesterday. "I want to play, and I still think I can play. I feel like I've still got one great year in me, and it's not going to happen if I'm sitting on the bench again.
"I don't want this to sound like it's and ego thing. "I'm not concerned about being the primary force on the Redskins. I just want to make a contribution. There is something to be said about being a positive influence in practice. "But," he added "the bottom line is Sunday."
And so, the bottom line for Calvin Hill will involve a talk he hopes to have shortly with George Allen. Hill said that if he can get some verbal assurance from the coach he will be used more often, he will come back for another season, maybe even two more years.
If not, he said, there are alternatives.
Even now, Hill is studying to take the law boards, and if Allen gives him no satisfaction, he says he will have no qualms about retiring at age 30 to attend law school at Georgetown or George Washington or anywhere else that will have an old Yake man.
There was also some talk late in the season that Hill might might ask Allen to release him from his contract and allow him to pick his own spot. But Hill does not think that is especially that many other places I'd like to go to."
He said he will not demand to be traded, for the same reason. He has bought a some in Reston, he likes the area, the organization and many of his teammates. But he does not like sitting.
"I just got a card from a friend of mine in Dallas," Hill said. He said 'Congratulations on a nondepreciating year.' It was like I stayed in the garage all year.
"If I was younger, I could say I was gaining experience and I'd be looking toward an expectation of five or six more years. But when I came here, it was pretty much for a minimum of two years and a maximum of three. Looking at it that way. I've wasted one-half of my remaining football life expectancy, and that's a great amount of time.
"'It was frustrating, very much so, because I still think I can play. I can still do the things I was doing when I was having my best years.
Hill said that when he joined the Redskins, he expected that he would be one of three or four backs being constantly rotated during the season. But when the year had ended, Mike Thomas had carried the ball 254 times for 1,101 yards from the tailback spot, and Hill had 79 carries for 301 yards.
"I knew Mike had the kind of ability to do that, and I really was very happy for him," Hill said. "But I thought we'd all play, you know, like the North Carolina system in basketball. It keeps everyone fresh.
"I had offers from teams where I could have carried the ball 25 or 30 times a game, but I thought I'd like to go to a team where both guys got involved. George and Charley Waller (the team's offensive coordinator) said to me late in the year they thought I should have played more. Maybe we can still work it out.
"But I'd have to have a verbal understanding that I would play. If not, well, my thinking right now would be to retire and go to law school.
"You know, I turned 30 last month. As a football player, you start thinking of yourself as being old. But I'm very young, and for me to go through a lot of turmoil in football, well, I'd rather get into something else where I'd be young, vibrant and able to look ahead."
"I tried to be as positive as I could last year. I didn't want to be disruptive, and if there was something to be learned from the experience, I tried to learn it. The lesson I learned is that it's something I don't want to go through again."