Redskin president Edward Bennett Williams said today the club would not negotiate with holdouts Mike Thomas and Frank Grant until they reported to training camp. And coach George Allen said the two players would be fined $500 for every day they missed.
"When someone is in direct violation of an existing contract, and these two are, that is the standard policy we have always followed," Williams said, adding that he would be willing to enter the negotiations if Thomas and Grant reported.
"If they are deadlocked with (Tim) Temerario (the team's chief negotiator), and apparently that is the situation now, then I will enter into it," Williams said. "I am hopeful they'll be in camp by tonight (Monday) or tomorrow. I can't believe they'd be foolish enough to stay out."
The players and their agent, Guy Draper, were unavailable for comment today. However, Temerario said he had spoken with Draper several times and he told him about Williams' "no report, no negotiate" stance.
Grant and Thomas currently on the option year of their contracts, are seeking considerable raises in salary and other benefits.
Allen also was taking a get-tough approach. "If we've got anybody who's unhappy, we'll see what we can do to trade them, if that's what somebody wants," he said.
Was he referring specifically to trading Grant and Thomas, two of the club's main offensive weapons the last two seasons?
"I think we need them," he said, "but we've also got some people who can take over and do the job if they had to. I'd like you to put down that I am not thinking that way. I'd just like to get this thing resolved."
Temerario, meanwhile, said he would no longer initiate any conversations with Draper. "It's up to them now," he said. "I look at it this way. We have seven or eight other players out there on the field in the same category (on the option year) as those two. Here are guys working their butts off in the same situation and we can't play footise with those two. It's just not right."
There also was no progress reported in negotiations between the Redskins and offensive tackle Tim Stokes, who had declined to sign a new contract.
Stokes played out his option in 1976 and is in a different situation than Thomas and Grant.
He must sign before he is allowed to practice, and he will not be fined for missing the workouts because technically he is considered a free agent.
Dick Myers, Allen's administrative assistant, said he had spoken today with Stokes and his agent Howard Slusher, but that there's nothing new.
"I asked Slusher if he'd like to get together and he said to me, 'You're not budging and I'm not budgeing, so why bother," Myers said. "That's what we've got to deal with. I did speak to Tim and had a very good talk with him. I know he wants to be here, and he's been told we want him here."
Slusher is scheduled to meet with management of the Baltimore Colts in Baltimore Wednesday to discuss several unsigned Colt players he represents. Mel also may find his way to Carlisle to discuss Stokes and rookie tight end Reggie Haynes, the team's fourth holdout, whom he also represents. Slusher also was not available for comment.
The only other player missing Sunday night showed up today. Corner back Joe Lavender, who drove from California, arrived in Carlisle after lunch and participated in today's second practice.
Allen, citing several personal problems that detained Lavender, said he would not fine the veteran defensive back. "I'm just glad he's here," Allen said.
The team had two workouts this afternoon. Veteran fullback Larry Brown got through only half of the morning session before he pulled up hobbling with a bruised left foot.
"I've got a bone sticking out and right now it's sore as hell," Brown said. "It's nothing serious. I just didn't want to take any chances."
During the practice, Pete Solverson worked in Stokes' place at left tackle; back and was paired with John Riggins, and Larry Jones was in Grant's normal flanker position, paired with Charley Taylor as the wide receivers.
Taylor took part in his first practice since he ruined his shoulder diving for a pass in last season's first exhibition game and said, "I felt great out there. I'm a little tired, and I'm sweating, so the ball slipped through my hands a few times.
"But I was getting open. If you can do that, there's no problem. Hey, I'llcatch the ball when I have to."
There were no other significant lineup changes on this opening day for the veterans. The defensive line featured Ron McDole at left end. Dave Butz at left tackle. Diron Talbert at right tackle and Dennis Johnson at right end.
Harold McLinton was the middle linebacker flanked by Brad Dusek on the left and Chris Hanburger on the right. Lavender and Fischer were at the corners, with Ken Houston at strong safety and Jake Scott at free safety.
Fischer, the 37-year-old wonder, immediately established his heisty presence in a seven-on-seven drill in the morning practice. Earl Thomas a wide receiver, ran a sideline pattern, and Fischer barreled into him, sending Thomas sprawling as the ball fell incomplete. Thomas glared at Fischer, who just smiled.
Jean Fugett was the tight end on the first unit, with Solverson at left tackle, Ron Saul at left guard. Terry Hermeling at right guard and George Starke at right tackle. Billy Kilmer was the quarterback!
Allen said he was pleased that "everbody looks pretty good. We had a pretty good first day, though I'd rather have it a little hotter (it rained for most of the afternoon workout)" . . . Allen will present offseason conditioning awards Tuesday to Curtis Akins, Rusty Tillman, Paul Laaveg, Hermeling and Jones . . . Houston also will be honored for being a finalist in the NFL's Dodge Man of the Year contest . . . Snazziest T-shirt of training camp belongs to team photographer Nate Fine, who showed up at press day with the message, "Photographers do it in the Dark" across his chest. CAPTION: Picture, Redskin running back Mike Thomas is being fined $500 a day until he reports to training camp. He and wide receiver Frank Grant are holding out in salary dispute. By Richard Darcey - The Washington Post; Picture 2, No longer a Redskin, Roy Jefferson plans on auditioning as a football analyst this fall. By Bill Snead - The Washington Post