There is no truth to published reports that the Washington Redskins have signed Lava Lava Lenny, the 390-pound "Polynesian Panzer," a source close to the team told The Washington Post last night.
Nor is there any substance to reports that team President Edward Bennett Williams gave permission to use player pension funds to keep the big fellow in pineapples, the source disclosed.
"I don't know where you guys get your information," he whispered over the telephone.
"Sure, sure, we'd love to have a guy like Lava Lava. You don't need a front four with him in there. Its a front one. But to say we've got him - well, that's fiction, nothing but fiction."
For the last two weeks, the exploits of Lava Lava Lenny and Duke, the former ambassador to China turned Redskin general manager trying to sign him to a contract, have been chronicled in "Doonesbury," the comic strip penned by Garry Trudeau.
Art is dearly imitating life each day, and some of the best howls are coming from Redskin Park.
"I hope that guy Duke isn't me," said Bobby Beathard, the real general manager.
Added new Coach Jack Pardee, "Lave Lava sounds like a player."
Trudeau first named Duke general manager on the comic pages precisely the same day Beathard's appointment was announced on the sports pages.
There are other topical touches. Williams' name appears frequently. Lava Lava's agent is a fellow named "Hook," the same moniker George Allen's lawyer, Ed Hookstratten, goes by.
When a character named Bobby - as in Bobby Mitchell, the executive assistant to Williams - informs Duke there are no draft choices until round seven, the general manager says, "A pox on George Allen. No wonder the talentless toad bolted town when he did.
"I just don't see how he got away with that "The Future is Now garbage as long as he did."
When Williams asks Duke how far he would go to trade for Lava Lava, the general manager says, "I would trade your small son."
"Forget it," says Williams, "I saw what it did to Allen's family."
Trudeau clearly has done his homework, although he declined to talk about his creation on the record in a recent telephone interview from his studio in New Haven.
"I never give interviews," he said. "I let my work speak for itself."
Still, he volunteered that he has always been fascinated by professional football. The Redskins, located in the Nation's Capital, seemed an ideal team to focus on, he said.
As an undergraduate at Yale, and later in his syndicated strip, Trudeau featured two classmates, quarterback Brian Dowling and running back Calvin Hill, in his work for the Yale Daily News. Dowling had a brief trial with the Redskins last fall, and Hill has been with the Redskins last fall, and Hill has been with the team the last two years.
Trudeau came to Washington last winter to meet with Williams for background information. And he says the Redskins will pop in and out of the strip in the future.
Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, a source close to George Allen said the coach was too busy to talk about the Redskins' aquisition of Lava Lava Lenny.
"He's back there now looking at films, of a real hot prospect," the source said. "Kid named 'Bigfoot.' Kicks the ball right out of the stadium."