The Washington Redskins opened their 1977 training camp today in typical whirlwind fashion, adding two players with NFL experience to the roster and signing two important younger veterans.
The new additions were quarter back Jesse Freitas, once a part-time starter for the San Diego Chargers and cornerback Larry Willis, who played for the Redskins in 1973.
In other developments, George Allen announced the team had signed wide receiver Larry Jones and defensive end Dallas Hickman, leaving 13 Redskins unsigned.
He also said the club was very close to signing starting middle linebacker Harold McLinton, one of two Redskins who played out their options in 1976. McLinton and offensive tackle Tim Stokes will not be allowed to enter training camp until they come to terms. "We hope to have something on Harold in two or three days. Allen said.
Allen also said seventh-round draft pick Reggie Haynes has not yet signed and is "blowing the chance of a lifetime." If he does not soon agree to terms.
Haynes, a tight end, apparently is holding out for a large bonus and a fat contract, which Allen described as ridiculous.
"The big problem is his brother (Patrio cornerback Mike Haynes) was a first round pick last year, and Regie's trying to compare contracts." Allen said, "He's making a big mistake."
Allen indicated the club was very close to coming to terms with place kicker Mark Moseley. Allen also said he probably would not invite defensive end Verlon Biggs to camp, at least not now. "I'll make that decision next week, too," he said.
Allen seemed excited over the signing of Freitas who recently was cut by Edmonton of the Canadian Football League. Freitas was the Chargers sixth-round pick in the 1974 draft and was the starting quarterback in three of San Diego's five victories that season.
In two years with the Chargers, he completed 98 of 219 passes for 1,244 yards, with eight touchdowns and 13 interceptions.
"Oh yes, he's definitely a fine prospect," Allen said. "My experience has always been that people misevaluate quarterbacks more than any other position. Billy Kilmer's a perfect example of that. We saw something in him no one else did, and he takes us to the playoffs every year."
Freitas, 25, becomes the fifth quarterback in camp, joining Kilmer, Joe Theismann, and free agents Brian Dowling and Jerry Trooien. Allen will keep two quarterbacks on the active squad, and probably another on the two-man taxi squad.
Willis also was released in Canada, by the Montreal Alouettes. He started at right cornerback for the Alouettes the second half of last season. The man he replaced. Phil Price, beat him out for the job this year.
Willis was used primarily on special teams in Washington his rookie year but was cut early the following season. He played for two years in the World Football League -- "I'm still missing 11 paychecks," he said -- and joined Montreal last year.
He can play both cornerback positions, and backed up Pat Fischer on the left side when he was on the team in 1973. "Pat taught me an awful lot, and I hope I can learn a lot more," said Willis, now 27 and 15 pounds heavier (187) than he was as a rookie.
Willis played at Texas El Paso and once ran the 100-yard dash in 9.4 seconds. He was signed originally at one of Allens free-agent tryout camps.
Allen, meanwhile, was making his first public appearance since coming to terms on a four-year textension of his contract with the club earlier in the week.
"I'm glad its settled, it's a relief, he said. "It never bothered me. But you know, I just bumped into a player in the parking lot and he said. Coach, I'm glad we can count on you being here for five more years."
"It's a good thing for the entire organization and I'm pleased and happy about it. It helps everyone. If it wasn't settled, it wouldn't have bothered me, except that it would have kept coming up. You would have asked me about it all the time, and rehashed it all the time. The fewer distractions you have, the better."
Allen was asked to comment on his reported $250.000 a-year contract compared to several of his peers. "I don't know what those other guys are making." he insisted. "My only concern was doing a good job, strenthening the team and winning.
"There were never any problems. It was just a matter of getting together and talking," Allen said he learned of the settlement Wednesday afternoon, though other sources say the agreement was completed several days before.
Allen arrived in camp at 5 p.m. today, much later than usual, and even managed to slip through the front door of Adams Hall, the team dormitory, while culb photographer Nate Fine was running errands.
As soon as he saw Fine, Allen took the photographer back outside and got out of his car a second time to pose for posterity and good luck.
"I'm so superstitious, Allen said. "Every time you take this picture, the team makes the playoffs." NOTES
Two of Allen's top aides have signed new contracts -- executive assistant Tim Temerario and personnel director of professional scouting Bobby Mitchell. Both men had talked in the off season about leaving the organization. Dick Sfhafrath, who helped coach the offensive line the last two seasons, also is in camp again for the same purpose . . .
Allen said he will set up a scholarship at Siena College in Loudonville, N.Y., in memory of his late mother, Loretta, who died at age 89 Wednesday.