"It's the end of an era," George Allen declared from his home in Palos Verdes, Calif., the day after two of his former captains, Len Hauss and Rusty Tillman, were cut by the Redskins.
Hauss, former center and offensive cocaptain, and Tillman, captain of the special teams, were favorites of Allen.
They joined Charley Taylor, Pat Fischer, Jerry Smith, Brig Owens and Bob Brunet on the list of veterans who have become former Redskins since Allen's departure in January.
Another Allen starter, defensive end Dennis Johnson, also felt the sting of the newly sharpened Redskin ax Tuesday.
"I was sorry to see Dennis Johnson waived," Allen said by telephone, as if to alert Washington fans that he is keeping up with developments here. "He has a lot of good football in him, and he's still a young man he'll be 27 in October)."
The former Redskin coach said of Hauss and Tillman: "They're both what I call solid citizens. They had character. The kind of players you need to win. They were leaders; they were both captains. They will be difficult to replace.
"I was fond of both of them because they were always ready to play.
"This is why I mentioned before that there will never be another era like the last seven years in Washington. The team was made up of a special type of individual hand-picked. That's why they captured the nation's attention.
"Chuck Fairbanks called me the other day and told me nobody ever won more big games. Every one was a must - to keep us in a race or to put us in the playoffs.
"I'm not saying the Redskins won't win. But as time goes by, people realize there never again will be an era like we had."
In case some of his critics in Washington and Los Angeles think they have seen the last of Allen on the sidelines, he said, "There is no question that I'll stay in coaching."
He said of a report that he might be headed for the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League: "That's strictly a rumor. There are a lot of rumors, but none of them are true."
Allen said he has had to put in a second (telephone) line. Asked if he has had offers to coach, he said, "I've had a lot of different calls but I'm just sitting back and enjoying myself, relaxing. I go to the beach every day with Etty (his wife). I'm getting reacquainted with my family.
"I'm not sure I'll do any TV," he went on, bringing up that subject. "I have had several TV offers, from local stations. I've had feelers from NBC, CBS and ABC. Those are being handled through my attorney, Ed Hookstratten. I'm analyzing those things carefully. It's better to take time on anything."
Would he take a coaching job during the season?
"I don't think so. I don't think I'd be interested. It wouldn't be fair to either side. I'm not interested in coaching this season. It's difficult to put in your system. It wouldn't be your team. I like to put in a whole program and stick to it.
"I did out here (with the Rams before he was fired after two exhibition game losses). And if you don't, you don't win."
"As of now, I'm not going to do anything, but maybe something will happen this afternoon to change my mind."
Allen took note of Fischer, Taylor, Brunet, Smith and Owens joining Hauss and Tillman out of a football. He said adding them to nine former Rams (such as Roman Gabriel and Deacon Jones) who played under him his first time as coach in Los Angeles and tossed him a party last week: "That would be a pretty good team, wouldn't it?"
He said he is "getting a load of mail every day, a lot of it from Washington, Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania fans. Some just address the letters to 'George Allen, Palos Verdes Estates, California and I get it. I'm answering every letter.
"The mail lets you know you've got a lot of friends. We get wires and telephone calls, too."
Allen said he read 26 letters last week in the Los Angeles Times mostly favoring him against Carroll Rosenbloom and noted that of 80 letters received by newspaper, he "won," 76 to 4.
"It was gratifying," Allen said.