George Allen is stonewalling and his attorney Ed Hookstratten of Los Angeles, doesn't return phone calls. And Edward Bennett Williams, the Redskins, team president and noted courtroom orator, has clammed up.
All around the National Football League, people are talking about the Redskin latest brouhaha - Allen's apparent unwillingness to sign that fat (about $250,000 year) contract unless he also gets complete financial control of the Redskins operation.
There are people around the league who say that Williams has Allen precisely where he wants him, that he really does have a legitimate excuse to change coaches if the current season deteriorates into a nonplayoff disaster.
To all the Allen believers Williams can say "Look, I've offered him $250,000 a year; he already has the best facilities in pro football, the largest coaching staff and the highest payroll, and still he wants more."
Oh, what a lovely out.
And yet there are other folks around the NFL who will also tell you that Allen is dealing from a position of strength, that there are a number of owners who would be willing to open their arms and their checkbooks to Allen, a proven winner in 12 seasons as an NFL head coach.
Allen, they say, is no football fool. He knows his team is getting old, that all the injuries this season to veteran players are no coincidence, that he no longer can replenish his roster with high-priced free agents, that few teams will trade with him and that he will not get to pick until the ninth round of the 1978 draft next April.
That's right, the ninth round. The No. 1 choice went to St. Louis for Dave Butz; Nos. 2, 3 and 4 to Los Angeles for Tim Stokes; No. 5 to Philadelphia for Joe Lavender; No. 6 to Houston for Ron Saul; No. 7 to Kansas City for John Matuszak and No. 8 to Atlanta for Ted Fritsch.
Allen still has his No. 1 picks left in the 1979 and 1980 drafts, but not a whole lot more. No. 2 in 1978 goes to St. Louis for Butz; No. 3 to Houston for Saul; No. 4 to Philadelphia for Lavender and No. 5 to Los Angeles for Stokes.
And in 1979, the Nos. 2 and 3 picks have been dealt to Los Angeles for Dan Nugent. And if you ask around the NFL, the personnel chiefs will also tell you that the only players worth high-round draft picks in trade on the Redskin roster are safety Ken Houston, tight and Jean Fugett, receiver Frank Grant and possibly quarterback Joe Theismann.
"I look at his roster and see all those years of experience and I have to say to myself age is okay but this is almost fatal age," says one NFL general manager. "If I were him (Allen) I'd get the hell out of there."
So Allen's current contract hassle may be nothing less than a ploy on his part, several sources say, that he wants out of a deteriorating situation just as much as Williams may want him to leave.
So where does Allen go from here? Halfway through the current season, already there is talk that there will be more coaching changes next year, if not sooner in Kansas City, Buffalo, Detroit, San Francisco, San Diego, Cincinnati, the New York Giants and Tampa Bay.
In Los Angeles, it is even being said that Chuck Know will be out of a job if he does not win the Super Bowl this year.
Allen of course, would dearly love to return to his Los Angeles house on the cliffs of Palos Verdes and a young, powerful team. But the Rams already have a capable general manager in Don Klosterman and Allen and L.A. owner Carroll Rosenblum surely would qualify as the original odd couple. That move does not seem likely.
Several NFL sources say that Tampa Bay would be the ideal spot for Allen, John McKay, despite a vote of confidence from owner Hugh Culverhouse last week, reportedly is in serious trouble after losing 21 straight regular-season games.
Culverhouse reportedly thinks highly of Allen, unlike San Diego owner Eugene Klein, who is not considered an Allen fan.
The Buccaneers are young. They have all their drafts choices, a stable of exceptional running backs, a promising young quarterback, Mike Boryla, and most important to Allen, the nucleus of an aggressive defense.
And while the speculation continues, one thing is certain: Allen and Williams will play a waiting game, with neither man showing their cards.