Larry Jones of the Washington Redskins is not a happy man. He feels like a quarterhorse being used to pull a milkwagon.
A former world class sprinter, Jones is the fastest Redskin and was one of the top kick-return men in the National Football League in 1975 when he carried 47 kickoffs for 1,086 yards and 53 punts for 407. He was a threat to break one every time he fielded the ball.
He returned one kickoff and one punt last year before tearing an ankle ligament and being put on injured reserve.
In Jones' absence, Eddie Brown blossomed into one of the NFL's premier return men and he is the No. 1 kickoff and punt returner again this season.
"Eddie did an outstanding job last year," said special teams coach Paul Lanham. "It's not that we don't have confidence in Larry's ability. It's nothing like that."
Brown returned 48 punts for 646 yards last year, the second highest total in NFL history. His total yards and 13.5 average are both Redskin records. His 71 yard touchdown return against St. Louis in a Monday night game was the longest NFC return last year.
Brown was injured much of the pre-season and Jones handled the returns and thought he would be doing the same at least on a part-time basis during the regular sesson. It hasn't happened, and if Brown stays healthy it probably won't.
"If Eddy had been physically able to play in the preseason he would have been back there," Lanham said. "He was the incumbent. It would have been his job and it is now."
"I just go along with what happened," Jones said after a 2 1/2-hour closed practice yesterday at Redskin Park. "Firing up and getting quoted in the papers won't help my situation. I'm not going to jump up and demand anything. When you make waves you create bad ripples.
"All I can say is that when I'm called on to do my job, I'll do it, whatever it is. As for my personal feelings, I just better keep them personal. As far as team morale goes, everybody seems to be satisfied this way so I guess I'll be satisfied, too.
"Yeah, I'm eager to return kickoffs. I thought I had a pretty good training camp, but other people make those decisions."
Brown is slower than Jones, they have comparable hands, but the consensus is that Brown is better as following his blocking and that the Redskins feel more comfortable with him back there.
Since the Redskins are blessed with two returnmen of such high caliber why not use them both deep in a double safety setup or use Jones on kickoffs and Brown on punts?
"Two deep just isn't our system," Jones said. "They want to get the most out of everybody so they only want one back there.
"What's my job on punt returns now? To block and then when I get tired, block some more," Jones said.
"I've still got the speed", he added. "I'm still getting down there. It's just that I feel like a stuntman."
Jones is also listed as the backup flanker behind Frank Grant.
That isn't too promising a spot either, because Grant is the Redskins' best receiver and head coach George Allen considers Danny Buggs his No. 3 wide receiver behind Grant and Charley Taylor. That leaves Jones as No. 4.
"I can deal with that," Jones said, "but the other stuff . . .
"It just that no one has ever come up with a reason to me why I'm not running back kicks. But I'll get another chance and when I do I'm not going to give it up."
The Redskins listed cornerback at Fischer as questionable for Sunday's game against the Cardinals at RFK Stadium. Fisher reinjured his back in the Atlanta game and has not practiced all week. He spent much of yesterday's practice jogging and didn't take part in any of the drills.