A telephone call made by the Redskins' Larry Brown but never completed convinced rookie running back Mike Northington to return to training camp Friday night.

Northington, the Redskins ninth-round pick in the 1977 draft left camp July 21 for what he described today as "personal reasons."

"I just started feeling bad inside I was taking a pounding. Everybody told me the first part of training camp would be rough, but I just didn't give myself enough of a chance."

Northington said he spoke several times with Bobby Mitchell, the Redslin director of pre-scouting. But when Brown, who earlier this week retired as a player, called his home in Louisville, "that was what made me come back.

"I wasn't home, and I never spoke to Larry. But I figured if a guy like Larry Brown took his time just to talk to me, well. I made the decision right there."

Northington said he spent some time in Louisville, then went to Lafaycite, Ind., and Purudue University, his alma mater. "But I just wasn't happy, it wasn't working out," he said.

"So I decided to give myself a second chance to find out what pro-football is all about. I left before the veterans came and that was a mistake. I'm just glad to be back and I'm glad they'll take me back. I never should have left."