Redskin Coach Jack Pardee left the door wide open yesterday for the return of running back Calvin Hill, saying, "This is not a dead issue by any means" and "We'd definitely like to have him back."
Hill announced his retirement and left the Redskin camp Monday afternoon. In an interview with the Washington Post Monday night, he indicated a major reason for his departure was that he wanted to start at tailback for the Redskins "but I haven't gotten the feeling that's possible or probable."
Pardee said yesterday however, "It's much too early for him to be eliminating himself. We certainly hadn't eliminated him from that possibility.
"Running backs in this league get a lot of nicks, and I would certainly want to have at least two guys on the team that I consider to be starters at the position.
Pardee said he planned to call Hill later in the week, probably Thursday or Friday, when the Redskins break camp and return to Washington to face the Green Bay Packers Friday night at RFK stadium.
"As Calvin left yesterday (Monday) he wanted time to think, and he really wasn't tied to anything specific," Pardee said. "I just thought I'd give him a couple of days to get his thoughts squared away as to his future plans, and then get back in touch with him.
"It was counting on Calvin to contribute to the team, and our opinion hasn't changed at all. At this time, getting preseason work would be beneficial to him if he is going to play. But it's certainly no make-or break thing to miss this week at all."
Pardee said he had not received any inquiries from other teams concerning a possible trade for Hill, who is on the opinion year of a contract that pays him $125,000 a year.
"There haven't been any conversations, nothing yet (on a trade)." Pardee said. "we might explore that possibility as well as trying to get him back with us. He's still young enough to be playing awhile longer."
Bobby Beathard, Redskin general manager, said he was "as surprised as anyone" about Hill's leaving camp Monday.
Bobby Mitchell, executive asistant to Edward Bennett Williams, team president, said he thought Hill was making a mistake because, "I think Jack is looking at a lot of people right now, and Calvin was a little premature. I'm sure he was a little disenchanted after the Viking game. I know he's been wanting to play. We still think he can."