George Allen has signed a new contract. No, not with the Redskins, whose owners have been less than zealous about announcing a renewal and have left him dangling on the thin end of his own agreement. His new contract calls for Allen to execute a column once a week for the Washington Star during the offseason. [TEXT OMITTED FROM SOURCES] it, in a question-and-answer routine, umn, although he doesn't exactly write it. He's sort of associated with it, in a question and answer routine, in which his thoughts are put into words by a helper. It adds up to a sounding board for Allen, who has always like to hear himself talk, except to inquisitive reporters with gut questions about him and his Redskins.
This new bit with the Star has helped Allen complete the circuit and become an incomparable media personality. Last season he had his coach show on WTTG-TV-5. And he is heavily into radio on a regular basis with Tim Brant on WMAL. The year before he played Channel 20, opposite Warner Wolf at the same hour on Channel 9, a ratings disaster for Allen. And don't forget, he also got a writer to write a book called "Winning Football" by George Allen that sold at $14.95 a pop, although not many.
Allen has just missed qualifying as a media conglomerate. He has diversification, but unfortunately his operations have been more consecutive than simultaneous.
It has been reported that Allen shopped his column around a bit before signing with the Star. Surprisingly, this was reported in the Star, by a Star writer, who said Allen tried to peddle his column elsewhere before he hired out to the Star.
Elsewhere could be The Post, which has a history of preferring professional jounalists. This was clearly enunciated as far back as 1927 when The Post's morning opposition, the Hearstian Washington Herald, grandly announced that Babe Ruth, John McGraw and Ty Cobb ,among others, would report that year's Yanks-Pirates World Series for the Herald.
In that year The Post had no resources to hire outside writers, even had it so desired. So The Post's saucy young sports editor countered the Herald's promotional ads with his own simple announcement: "Baseball writers will cover the baseball World Series for The Post . . . Reach for a Post instead of a ghost."
Allen's access to his new employer has been wonderfully self-serving. The other day the morning paper revealed the Redskin's 1977 schedule and pointed out that it was a soft one for Allen - four of his non-division opponents won only 10 of their 46 games last year.
Allen went into a long, low moan in the Star about the dirty deal the Redskins had gotten from the schedule makers.
Just think, Allen said in essence, the Redskins must play Dallas with only five days' rest. All on account of the NFL scheduling them against Green Bay for a preceding Monday night game. So shed a tear for the Redskins, in as much as Dallas is given an extra day's rest or practice time while the Redskins must take on Green Bay.
Green Bay? Allen must be forgetful. Most coaches would be delighted to play the Packers any day in the week. They haven't been an NFL power in the nine years since Vince Lombardi left. In recent seasons, lives there a coach who hasn't said, I'd rather play Green Bay instead.
The same Star reporter who now has ready access to Allen for their weekly Q and A sessions, will be demoted by the coach to the ranks once the season starts. Like the others, he will be allowed on the practice field only two days a week and will not be allowed in the dressing room after a game until 15 or 20 minutes later, dispite the NFL rule that no coach must keep reporters waiting for more than seven minutes.
At Redskin Park, once the season begins, the reporter will keep his distance, not allowed to talk to the coach after practice until the coach takes his laps on the running track that is one of Allen's fringe benefits.
And his inseason clippings are also apt to be posted on the board so Allen can say by way of snapping up his team, "Look at what the press is saying now; they're against us. They're writing us off." To Allen, the press has always been an enemy within the gates, skulking in readiness to snipe.
But now as a sort of media man himself, as one of them in a sense, will be develop a new viewpoint?
Allen's position is faintly remindful of the queen's cousin who had ambitions to become England's poet laureate, with few credentials besides his kinship. That benighted twerp, who was getting the correct feeling he was being passed over, asked his friend Oscar Wilde for advice.
"I feel there is a conspiracy of silence against me," he complained to Wilde. "What shall I do?"
"Join it," Wilde told him.
For Allen, his new column in the paper has been Mr. Blanding's Dream House.He has stonewalled against any hard news on the Redskins. He met the question about his own contract status with the Redskins with a simple comment, "Nothing has changed."
He has plumped for more minor league football. Big deal. He says RFK Stadium should have more seats. Who doesn't?
Allen has proposed a hall of fame, called the Redskins. Hurray. Also more summer jobs for the city's youths. A favorite and commendable campaign for Allen, but hardly stop-the-press material. And lots about the Redskins' new stretch coach physical fitness program.
But not yet a single exclusive morsel or exciting nugget of Redskin news, or strategy. If it is checkbook journalism the Star is trying, it may be wishing its check had bounced.