Joe Theismann, who says, "I'm tired of being jerked around," will shortly begin contract negotiations with the Redskins, seeking at least a three-year pact and compensation commensurate with starting NFL quarterbacks.
Theismann yesterday also denied a report in Friday's editions of the Toronto Star, claiming that the owner of the Canadian league Toronto Argonauts had offered him $1 million over seven years to sign with the club after his Redskin contract runs out at the end of this year.
"That's a nice number, but I wish I knew how people pull those things out of a hat," said Theismann, who played with Toronto in 1971-1973. He is still obligated to the Redskin in 1977 under the option year of his contract.
Theismann said that he and Toronto owner Bill Hodspon had played golf while both were on vacation. "But they have not made any offer to me," several times in Florida last month he said.
"I'm sure the Argonauts are interested in me, and I would be interested in playing football there; I can't deny that. But we still haven't started negotiations with the Redskins. I'd like to stay here, but I still don't know what the Redskins' plans are for me.
"That's what I hope to find out in the negotiations. I saw where George Allen made his annual statement about who was No. 1 (Billy Kilmer), so what else is new. But I believe I'm a No. 1 quarterback, too. We'll find out soon enough if the Redskins think so.
"I haven't been in their plans for the last three years. It's been a very difficult three years and I had three super years in Toronto. Here it's been one problem after another. I hope that will change.
"I'm very open-minded about it. I will do what I think is best for Joe Theismann, as a football player and what's best for my family."
Theismann's agent, Ed Keating of Cleveland, said he will present Theismann's contact demands to the Redskins in the next two weeks. "I'd like to think it can be resvolved before training camp," Keating said. "If not, there are always other alternatives. Canada is one of them, and it's an attractive one."
Argonaut general manager Dick Shatto said his team had not made an offer to Theismann and "we're not about to tamper with a player who is under contract to another club. If my owner made an offer, I would know about it."
Allen said he had also checked out the Toronto story and "there's nothing to it. It's another false rumor. We'll get Joe's contract resolved and he'll be back with us. We want him back."