Carl T. Butkus, a former Washington Redskin and the only head football coach DuVal High School in Prince George's County ever had, died yesterday morning of a heart attack. He was 55.

A native of Scranton, Pa., Mr. Butkus graduated from George Washington University in 1948. He played tackle that season for the Redskins and the following year with the New York Giants.

The 6-foot-1, 225-pound Mr. Butkus then turned down a chance to play with Baltimore in the old All America Football Conference and returned to this area to teach physical education.

He taught five years at Bladensburg and was assistant football coach there.

He went to DuVal in 1960, the year the school opened, and remained there as an instructor and head football coach until his death.

"He was a tremendous athlete. He even had a chance to play baseball with the St. Louis Browns but declined," said Stan Burak, a college teammate and assistant coach under Mr. Butkus at DuVal. "Carl had his way and he always believed it was right. He was a hard-knuckled kind of guy, but he never took advantage of kids."

DuVal won two county football titles and had only four losing seasons under Mr. Butkus.

According to Eunice Butkus, her husband had been in a good health and was preparing for another football season.

Mr. Butkus was stricken after going to bed Wednesday night, and attempts by the family to revive him were unsuccessful. He was pronounced dead at Washington Hospital Center at 6:10 a.m.

A gruff man, Mr. Butkus still was, a favorite with his players.

"He hollered at us but he was patient and got you to do the job," said Ted Holmes, who played at DuVal from 1972 through 1974. "He always saw to it that the players with college potential got some sort of scholarship. He got it for you and it was left up to you to take advantage of it. He was a real good dude. He was a coach and, most of all, a man."

Mr. Butkus also coached CYO basketball for many years at Nativity Church in Northwest Washington.

He is survived by his wife and sons Carl Jr., 28, and Billy, 22.

Friends can pay their respects at the Taltavull Funeral Home at 4748 Wisconsin Ave., NW Sunday from 2 to 4 and from 7 to 9. The funeral will be Monday at Nativity Church at 10 a.m., with burial in Gate of Heaven Cemetery.