He arrives at the practice field daily, this short blond man with Runner's World legs and Malibu tan, wearing shorts, t-shirt and flip-flop sandals and looking to all the world like a lost soul hunting for the nearest beach.
But do not be deceived by the look and laid-back demeanor of Bobby Beathard, the Redskins' new general manager.This is the same fellow who helped engineer the trade that sent Eddie Brown packing to Los Angeles in one of the most unpopular deals, among players and fans, in recent memory.
But Beathard has hardly flinched.
"We expected that reaction," he said yesterday. "No it doesn't disturb me. I know how they feel. Anybody would hate to give up a person like Eddie. But when we had a chance to get a couple of players who could help the team now and three good draft choices for the future, I don't see how you could turn it down. In the long run, I know it's going to help our team."
And that it how Beathard approaches his new job. He asked not to be judged on one controvtrsial trade, not even on the results of one season. "I'll tell you in three years if I'm successful or not," he said, "and I have all the confidence in the world that we'll do a good job here."
Coming to terms on a new contract with quarterback Billy Kilmer, a move precipitated by Beathard asking the team's president, Edward Bennett Williams, to enter the stalled negoitations, went a long way toward achieving that goal.
Since negotiations between Kilmer and Beathard had broken down the first week of training camp, there had been a feeling of uneasiness among many Redskin veterans concerned that the man they turn to for leadership was not being treated fairly.
Trading Brown to Los Angeles made matters worse.
"A lot of guys were thinking, "If they can treat Billy this way and they can get rid of a guy like Eddie, what's gonna' to me," one veteran said the other day.
The settlement of the Kilmer contract has helped ease some of the tension and, Beathard said,"From talking to Billy last night, I think he's completely sold on the program. I think most of them are.
"I know Billy seemed to be thrilled to death about the way (offensive cordinator) Joe Walton is running the offense, that he's doing unbelievable job. John Riggins is happier. Mike Thomas is working harder than Billy's ever seen him work. He believes the offense will be vastly improved.
"And I think that's contagious. If you can't sell the leader of the team, you're in trouble. When you hear those kinds of things from someone like Billy, it makes you think that what you set on paper is true."
Like most football executives, Beathard would prefer to accentuate the positive. He talks about his new job being "fun", "enjoyable" and "interesting" and he admits he is learning more about the position each day.
At times it seems that Beathard is almost to nice, too pleasant and too accomodating for a man of the level with such resident NFL sharpies as Al Davis, Joe Thomas or Jim Finks.
"I do get along with most people," he said, "and I guess because of that people will say you're a nice guy. If you're ever heard me with agents, though I'm not sure you'd think that.
"And when it gets right down to it I fight for what I believe in. I'm not going to let somebody get the best of me just because I seem to be a nice guy. I'll go so far, and then I let them know where I stand."
That is precisely what happened in Miami, where Beathard was director of personnel for the Dolphins for six years until a long-simmering dispute with the owner, Joe Robbie, over treatment of his scouts forced him to take a stand, and ultimately to resign.
"If I had wanted to go along with it and be a nice guy, I could have stayed there, collected my salary and just let it go." he said. "But I couldn't do that, so I left."
Beathard also attributes his non-flappable demeanour to the daily mileage he puts in on the roads. He is a marathon man who runs from six to 15 miles a day, every day, usually at 6 1/2 minutes a mile.
In training camp, he has company. His three sons are working in camp as ball boys and occasionally join him on his 5:30 a.m. runs in the Pennsylvania countryside. Casey, 12, will run his first marathon this fall.
"If you get too emotional about anything that happens in this business, you'd go nutty," Beathard said. "I'm convinced the running makes a big difference. I don't know exactly what it does, but during the time you're out there running you can relax. There are no confrontations on the road."
Soon Beathard will be confronting America's best college football players as he travels around the country doing what he does best - evaluating talent. Over the past four Beathard has drafted 23 players in the first six rounds who made the Miami roster; in 1977, eight of his 11 choices were on the team.
Dolphin coach Don Sula recently sent Beathard a handsome plaque in appreciation of your success with the Dolphins," listing each of the players Beathard drafted since 1972 who made the squad. The two talk frequently and are close friends.
Beathard says he is developing the same sort of relationship with Jack Pardee and that working conditions under Williams "are all you could ask for.
"He gives you the freedom to do your job, and that's the only way to have it," he said. "On the trades, it's a 50-50 thing between Jack and I. Any trade we make I'm not going to go out and do without consulting him.
"We're all in this together, really, me, Jack, the players. I'm really excited about the season and what we're trying to accomplish. I really hate to make predictions, but I dont see any reason why this team can't keep on winning."