George Allen angrily denied yesterday that he had approached any of his former Redskin players about joining him with the Los Angeles Rams. "That's ridiculous," he said. "I don't operate that way."
Redskin coach Jack Pardee had said Friday he did not want Allen, or any other NFL coach, interfering with any of his players. Pardee said he was not accusing Allen of tampering, but his warning seemed clearly directed at Allen, the former Redskin coach and general manager.
"No, I haven't talked to any of their players about coming to the Rams," Allen said yesterday from Los Angeles. "There's no sense talking to them because you still have to make a trade for them. If I want someone, I'll talk to the Redskins about it first.
"I don't even like to get into this kind of stuff. I'm out here trying to put together a staff and get things going and they bring that up. I don't know what they could be thinking of. You'll have to ask them.
"But it's completely false; I've never said anything to the players. No, I haven't talked to (Billy) Kilmer about coming here. I went to the wedding (Kilmer was married in Las Vegas last Monday) because of my respect for Billy Kilmer and the job he did for me in Washington."
"I flew all night to get there. I didn't go there to talk to anybody about making a trade or coming with me. Sure, there are a lot of people on the team I'm interested in. But we don't have to make trades to improve the Rams.
"We don't have to be overhauled like the Redskins did when I first got there. I've got plenty of talent here to work with. I don't need much."
The same cannot be said for the Redskins, who must strengthen the team without benefit of the first seven picks in the 1978 college draft and only a first-round choice in the first seven rounds of the 1979 draft.
Another major priority of the newly restructured front office will be to get the team out of debt. The Redskins lost $500,000 after the 1975 and 1976 seasons, and the loss may be as high as $750,000 for the fiscal year 1978.
The infusion of $5 million in television money each club will receive from the networks over the next four years, should help the Redskins get back in the black in 1979.
Allen denied any responsibility for the Redskin debt. "It's very easy to make the books say exactly what you want them to say," he said in a recent interview. "Before I could comment on that (Redskin loss), I'd have to see the books with an accountant. You need a CPA.
"How much of that loss is from the interest they're paying on the stock they bought up, that's something you ought to ask them. Deferred payments can be in there, too.
"And another thing. I get criticized for the salaries, but it was Williams (team President Edward Bennett Williams) who signed all those big contracts, John Riggins, Calvin Hill, people like that. Williams was the president. Any money we spent, we always cleared with him."
Last year, the Redskins had the highest payroll in the NFL at $3.6 million. The team also fared poorly in attendance during the exhibition season, and took a bath in its share of gate receipts for the regular-season game in Buffalo, where only 22,000 fans showed up.
The Redskins are still paying off a $6.8 million dollar loan to retire the stock owned by the estate of the late George Preston Marshall. In 1975, for example, the club listed $840,000 in interest payments.