Jack Pardee will return to Washington today or tomorrow to meet with Redskin president Edward Bennett Williams and barring any last-minute complications, will sign a contract to become the coach of the Redskins.
While Pardee and Williams both say additional talks are necessary to complete a deal, neither man forsees a problem.
Pardee 41, quit as coach of the Chicago Bears Thursday and flew to Washington to seek to the job of replacing the man he once worked for, George Allen.
Pardee and his wife Phyllis left Washington Friday after meeting for seven hours with Williams.
"I haven't signed, but I feel comfortable," Pardee said yesterday from his Lake Forest III home. "I feel we'll be able to get together. I just want to avoid a problem or misunderstanding later."
Pardee told The Washington Post Sunday he was concerned about how the roles of coach and general manager would function, and wanted assurances the Redskins would not close their checkbooks completely in within drawal from the Allen years.
Williams apparently answered Pardee's questions in a telephone conversation yesterday and satisfied whatever doubts he possessed about the job.
"If we work things out on this trip, I'll probably stay in Washington," Pardee said. "I want to get going. I'm free. I have no other job.
"I have nothing more important than to get started with the Redskins," Pardee added.
Pardee has been cleaning up loose ends in Chicago and yesterday finished packing at his office.
Williams refused yesterday to speculate how close Pardee was to the job. After a staff meeting at Redskin Park, Williams said he will meet with Pardee either tonight or tomorrow night.
"I am never again going to say I have an agreement with anyone until I have a contract signed by both sides," Williams said as he sat at Allen's former desk.
Six months ago, Williams announced agreement with Allen on an extention of Allen's original seven-year contract, which was entering its final session. The deal fell through when Allen did not sign, leading Williams to fire the coach.
When Pardee left Washington after meeting with Williams for seven hours Friday, he had what he called "no firm (contract) offer" but the general framework and terms for one.
Pardee said yesterday he had shown the contract to a Chicago lawyer-friend of his and that he could accept its terms.
Pardee refused to discuss its length or salary.
"I'm happy with it," he said. "It will not set any records on longevity or amounts, but it's something I'm pleased with."
Pardee said that F.Gregory Hookstratten, who had represented Allen in his dealings with the Redskins and Pardee in his stalled contract negotiations with the Bears, was not consulted on the current Redskin contract offer.
"It was a self-admitted personal conflict of interest," Pardee said. "I did not think he should negotiate my (possible) contract with Redskins."
The staff at Redskin Park has been taking Pardee's appointment for granted the past couple of days.
And the players who stopped by the team's training facility near Dulles Airport for offseason conditioning seemed pleased that Pardee is apparently the new coach. Pardee is a former linebacker and assistant coach here.
"I'll be extremely excited if it's Pardee," quarterback Joe Theismann said. "Why? Because it opens up every position to competition again. It's a good thing for a lot of young players wanting to play football.
"A lot of us have served our apprenticeships now and we have a chance to show our wares and be evaulated accordingly."
Linebacker Pete Wysocki, a stalwart of the special teams, said Pardee would be a popular choice among both the young players and veterans, many of whom were his teammates when the Redskins went to the Super Bowl after the 1972 season.
"If they have to get a new coach, then he's the best one they can get," Wysocki said. "The veterans are happy about it. And people will be surprised about how much depth this team has."