The Redskins cut three players, including their top draft choices in 1976 and 1977, and placed tight end Reggie Haynes on injured reserve yesterday.
While the Redskins were waiving goodbye to wide receiver Kevin Farrell, defensive end Duncan McColl and offensive tackle Mike Hughes, they were welcoming cornerback Pat Fischer back into the fold.
Fischer, trying to come back from a pinched nerve in the back, was able to practice from warmups to wind sprints for the first time in seven weeks. And to smile.
"It was a happy day," he said. "Four weeks ago I could hardly even get out of bed. You bet I'm satisfied about it."
"Why did I do it (go so hard the first day back)? I wanted to find out if I could. i didn't want to waste any time. If I wake up in the morning and its aching. I'll know it was foolish. But at least I'll know!"
Fischer's effort clearly was the high spot of an otherwise dismal day at Redskin Park. Between the cuts, the unbearable humidity and a rash of nagging minor injuries at the corner-back and outside linebacker positions, it was no wonder George Allen was shaking his head in dismay as he headed for his office.
But Allen did manage a wan smile when he was asked about Fischer.
"It's nice to see him out there again," he said. "Pat's always ready to play; he's a winner, and you need guys like that. It's still too early to tell. He wasn't going all out and the field was wet.
"But what I saw certainly was not discouraging. Each day I would hope he'll be able to do a little more and improve to the point where he could go at top speed."
Allen said it is possible Fischer could be ready for the season opener against the New York Giants Sept. 18, but that he most likely would not play him in the preseason finale Friday night against the New York Jets in RFK Stadium.
Fischer was delighted to be back in what the described last week as the Redskin "circle," although he joked yesterday that "the circle has been enlarged" in light of Sunday's awful 45-7 defeat to the New England Patriots.
Fischer participated in all the morning meetings and in most of the stretching exercises in warmups. He hit a bulky tackling dummy several times, and handled a full load in seven-on-seven passing and 11-on-11 running drills!
He wore a heavy back brace throughout the day and said he felt little discomfort, only fatigue. "If I felt any of the pain I had when I first got hurt, I'd walk off the field," he said.
Several teammates were not as fortunate. Cornerback Gerard Williams, who has been playing in Fischer's spot, was held out of practice with a slight muscle strain in his leg, and right cornerback Joe Lavender was limping slightly because of a strained muscle. Both should be available against the Jets.
Stu O'Dell, the outside linebacker playing in place of Chris Hanburger, did not practice because of a sprained ankle, and his replacement, Pete Wysocki, was hobbing all day with a groin pull.
Running back Mike Thomas was held out of the workouts with a hamstring pull, and team sources said he probably will not be able to play against the Jets. If that is true, Thomas will enter the regular season with only three carries from scrimmage in the preseason, and a total of ive full practices.
Hanburger, meanwhile, was released from Arlington Hospital and sent home to recuperate from Thursday's appendectomy. Dr. Frank Cardenas, his surgeon, said there was "a very slight" possibility that Hanburger could return for the Giant game, but said, "It will be a lot more realistic to say he'd probably be able to play the following week.
"If he was able to play against the Giants, he'd have to do it with very little practice, if any at all," Cardenas said. "We may let him ahve a light workout next week, but it's still too early to tell."
Allen's latest cuts came as no major surprise. Not one of the Redskins' 1977 draft choices apparently will make the 43-man squad.
Allen's noted he had the option to recall waivers on any of the three palyers cut. If another team showed enough interest, Allen would pull back the waived player and try to arrange a trade.
Hughes and McColl were the club's top draft choices in 1976 and 1977, respectively. Hughes, fifth-round pick from Baylor, walked out of training camp in 1976, then decided to try again this season. But the Redskins have a lot of flexibility on their offensive line with Terry Hermeling able to play guard and tackle and Bob Kuziel versatile enough to fill any position on the line. So Hughes was the odd man out.
McColl came into camp this year with a sprained ankle and never had much chance after missing most of the first three weeks of practice. With the development of Karl Lorch and Dallas Hickman, he was expendable. The Redskins took him on the fourth round this year.
Farrell, an undersized free agent from Fresno State, had been one of the surprises of the preseason. He had a knack for getting open and catching the football, and was coming along as a field goal and punt blocker.But Allen will keep only four wide receivers, and Farrell had little chance of heating out the two backup swifties, Larry Jones and Danny Buggs.
Haynes, who allegedly hurt his back covering a punt in New England was the Redskins' seventh-round draft choice this year. He held out at the start of the preseason, but was considered a decent prospect for the future, if the Redskins can figure out where to play him.