Jack Pardee did his best yesterday to massage Bill Kilmer's ego, but again made it clear that he will go into training camp with an open mind on a starting quarterback for the 1978 season.
Speaking before a lunchtime crowd of 300 at the National Press Club, Pardee was asked repeatedly to talk about Kilmer's comments in Tuesday's editions of The Washington Post.
The 38-year-old quarterback sid he would not participate in the Redskins' four-day minicamp starting May 18, unless he is signed to a two-year contract. He also said he deserves to be the team's starting quarterback, regardless of what happens in training camp and the exhibition games.
Pardee said yesterday he expects Kilmer to attend the camp, and said he also saw no reason Kilmer's contract hassle could not be resolved "without any problems."
The first written question from the audience alluded to Kilmer's published remarks. "I don't walk very well, I can't run and I can't throw a bullet pass" an anonymous author wrote "Will you sign me to a two-year contract and guarantee me a starting position?"
Pardee laughed and quickly shot back, "Anyone see Joe Theismann out there?" He turned serious on the subject a few minutes later.
"Billy has never taken anything for granted. He's always been the underdog," Pardee said. "He's always gone out and earned it, fought for it, and I'm sure he doesn't expect anything else.
"Going into training camp, Bill doesn't need as much playing time. I'd rather Bill go into the season without any injuries. For the Redskins to be a better team, we've got to hit the beginning of the season with everyone as healthy as possible.
"We have no individual goals on the Redskins - we're a team."
Someone asked Pardee if Kilmer was trying to bluff him.
"We want the same goal," Pardee said. "I'm responsible to Billy Kilmer, to Edward Bennett Williams, to Joe Theismann, to Pete Wysocki and to every member of the organization. I'm for all of us.
"I don't cut people or fire people. I just see who is doing the job and I put them in the right slot. That's the nature of sports. In business, you may get a job review every year or so.In professional football, with people watching on television and seeing those instant replays, it takes about 20 seconds to get a job review. You can't bluff anyone or fool anyone."
After the 45-minute question-and-answer period, Pardee said he understood what Kilmer was going through, but emphasized again that he wants the quarterback to attend the minicamp.
"I also want him to get this contract thing set so he'll have a complete commitment to playing," Pardee said. "What he's going through is not unlike what hundreds of other players have gone through. I don't think we'll have any problems with this. We want him to play quarterback for the Redskins. He knows that."
Redskins General Manager Bobby Beathard said he would attempt to talk to Kilmer in the next few days and said, "I hate to even talk about it. I didn't see that there was any sense of urgency. He's signed for next year, we're going to have a competitive training camp and he's very much in the Redskins' plans."
Pardee was asked if Kilmer would be fined if he failed to attend the minicamp.
Players under contract are supposed to come to the camp," Pardee said. "It will be to his benefit to be there. Joe Theismann will be there, we'll be doing some new things, putting in some new material, and I want him to be there. I don't known if players can be fined or not. I'm worry about that if it comes up. Right now, I'll assume he'll be there."
Responding to other questions from the floor at the Press Club, Pardee said:
The Redskins have no plans to trade lineback Chris Hanburger and that "Chris has told me he wouldn't play anywhere else."
"The first three teams we play next year also use the 34," he said, "so we'll put it in if for no other reason than to let our offense work against it. We are going to experiment, and how much we use it will depend on how successful we are with it in training camp and the exhibitions.
He plans to "give the football to the people who are going to take it downfield. I'm no dummy. If you have a back who averages 4.5 yards a carry, you have to get the ball to him. And we will."