"I feel like I've been stabbed in the back," Redskin coach George Allen said yesterday as he visited Redskin Park to pack his things, run final laps and say goodbye to his staff.
After completing his laps on the ice-covered track around the grass practice field, Allen accused team president Edward Bennett Williams of meddling in the operation of the team for the past two seasons.
Williams fired Allen Monday, ending Allen's successful seven-year coaching career here. He won 67 games, lost 30 and tied one.
Allen's attorney, Ed Hookstratten, told WTOP's Frank Herzog yesterday he was surprised at Williams' decision to fire Allen.
"We negotiated for two years and I thought, finally, we were going to put this thing to bed over the weekend," Hookstratten told Herzog."Allen and I thought we had an agreement with Jack Kent Cooke (the majority stock-holder of the Redskins). But I guess we didn't."
The lawyer said the main points of contention between Allen and the Redskins were the method of payment of salary and whether or not Allen would have the option to buy stock.
However, the biggest obstacles all along was Allen's insistence on not yielding any power to Williams.
Allen yesterday cited the disintegration of his working relationship with Williams as one of the two major reasons he didn't sign a four-year extension of his contract. Williams announced six months ago that Allen had agreed to the extension, doubling Allen's salary to a reported $250,000 annually.
The other major reason. ALlen said, was the absence of an option clause in the extension allowing him to buy 5 per cent of the club for $500,000 - the 1969 market value. Today, the 5 per cent is reportedly worth twice as much.
Yesterday, Allen said he was not bitter about the firing.
"We're given our heart and soul to this football program and the results are evident," Allen said. 'That's the thanks you get for it."
After his impromptu press conference yesterday, Allen was asked to expand on his back-stabbing charge. He said, "You think seven years, what we achieved, and then to be fired is the proper way to handle it? A man who lost seven years, you might do that (to him).
Allen skirted questions concerning whether he had talked to other National Football League clubs about becoming their coach. He gave his usual rhetoric about never applying for a job since his college coaching days.
Then, he added: "If somebody's interested in me, I'm fired. I'm a free agent. I'll listen. I'm not going to worry. I'm going to pack my bags and leave . . .I'll take a vacation."
Allen previously has said there are only two teams in the 28-club NFL he would consider coaching, the Redskins, who fired him, and the Los Angeles Rams, seeking a replacement for Chuck Knox.
Allen compiled the best record in the history of the Redskin franchise, after the late Dan Reeves fired him as coach of the Rams in 1970. Allen was 49-17-4 in Los Angeles.
Allen arrived at Redskin Park shortly before noon and his first order of business was calling a meeting of his 11 assistant coaches. It lasted a half-hour, but none of the assistant coaches were talking afterward.
"I wished them good luck," Allen said.
He would not elaborate, nor would his aides. All of their contracts have expired.
"We're in limbo," said Charlie Waller, the offensive coordinator.
One assistant who requested anonymity said the suddenness of the firing had put the assistants in a position in which they could not rish theri future by talking about it.
"I don't want to mess up my status with anybody - whether it be George, Ed Williams or the new coach," the assistant said. "I want to make sure I have a job next year before I talk."