The Washington Redskins not only claimed Jack Deloplaine off the waiver list from the Pittsburgh Steelers Tuesday, but also claimed another Steeler running back, Alvin Maxson, it was learned last night.
The Redskins declined to announce whom they put on waivers to make room for Maxson.
Both the Redskins and the Steelers are now in a fix. The Steelers had six running backs and wanted to get rid of one. They assumed either Deloplaine or Maxson would clear waivers and they would then reclaim him.
The Redskins, on the other hand, wanting to be sure they got one of the two, claimed both assuming they would be awarded only one of them.
It didn't work out that way. The Redskins got both and now have six running backs instead of the five they want.
The Redskins said a decision would be made today on whether they will keep Maxson. They are hoping that whomever they put on waivers to make room for Maxson, will clear waivers, which will give them the option of bringing him back to the roster.
Redskin Coach Jack Pardee said after practice yesterday that he "is still trying to make a change or two," and that his 45-man roster "is not necessarily set" for Sunday's National Football League opener against the New England Patriots in Foxboro.
If Pardee's remarks, via a telephone hookup with the media in New England are any indication, the Redskin coach isn't overly confident about Sunday's opener.
"It shapes up as a mismatch," Pardee said. "Every expert is picking New England to kill us. And they should."
"We might make some sort of change before the game," Pardee said. "I'm sure yet what will happen, though. We're still trying to upgrade our squad not necessarily with stars, but with people who can help us.
"We're still at the squad shakeout level. That all didn't end Tuesday."
If there is someone in particular Pardee has his eye on, he isn't saying who, but he and General Manager Bobby Beathard are scouring the waiver and free-agent lists.
Pardee caused a stir at Redskin Park this week by cutting center Len Hauss, defensive end Dennis Johnson, special team captain Rusty Tillman, Jim Mandich, Duncan McColl and Mike Hughes.
There were a number of sights from marginal players when the 45-man roster was announced Tuesday night, but some of those sighs may turn to groans soon and the groans will probably come from among the receiving corps.
"We have eight people for three spots if you count the tight ends in with the wide receivers," Pardee said, "and those numbers just don't jibe. Eight is too many."
The starting wide receivers are Frank Grant and Danny Buggs, with Larry Franklin, J. T. Smith and Rickey Thompson in reserve. The tight ends are Jean Fugett, Reggie Haynes and Greg McCrary. One of those eight probably was put on waivers to make room for Maxson.
"We aren't working on anything real major, but a change is a possibility until we get all our numebers settled at certain spots," Pardee said.
The coach added that he would also like to have three quarterbacks instead of the two he has now.
"They (Joe Thiesman and Billy Kilmer) are both healthy now, so it's not critical that we get a third quarterback right away," Pardee said, "but it's something we have to look at. We do need a third quarterback."
With only two quarterbacks, the Redskins often have to use personnel scout Mike Faulkiner, a former college quarterback, to throw during some passing drills.
"Any move we might make now won't shake up our team too much," Pardee added. "It would be more to make us stronger in the long run."
Fugett worked out a little yesterday, but did not take part in any of the major drills because of his bruised knee, Pardee indicated that he is not counting on Fugett for Sunday's game.
Fugett was limping on the left leg when he ran and said it was still sore.
"I don't know about Jean at this point," Pardee said. "Even if he did play, it would only be a limited amount. It's opening day coming up and he hasn't been able to work out much in the last two weeks. If he can get some hard work in the next couple of days he might play more than just a little, but he would still see only limited action."
That means that second-year man Reggie Haynes, who has been impressive in the preseason, probably will open at tight end.
McCarty is the only other healthy tight end. Haynes has run with the first unit all week.
"Yes, Reggie would start and I think he is ready," Pardee said.
Haynes' brother, Mike, is a New England Patroit defensive back and 1976 rookie of the year.
McCary, who passed out from heat exhaustion during Tuesday's practice, took part in the entire workout yesterday and showed no ill effects.
Once again, Pardee declined to make a formal announcement on his starting quarterback for Sunday, but Thiesmann got most of the work in practice.
Deloplaine practiced with the Redskins for the first time yesterday and said he is looking forward to playing for the team, "even though I haven't really gotten into it much yet."
Deloplaine has had two operations on the same knee. The last one was in January, but he said the leg now is as strong as the other.
He said he was surprised the Steelers put him on waivers, "but I like it here. This place has a lot of class."
Maxon was not asked to report yesterday and it is questionable that the 205-pound back will be asked to report at all. He is a four-year NFL veteran out of Southern Methodist who played his first three years for the New Orleans Saints.