Benny Malone may have a sprained ankle but he is "gratified" to be a Redskin and said yesterday he may be able to play in Sunday's game in Philadelphia against the Eagles.
Malone, the explosive running back the Redskins acquired Tuesday in a trade with Miami, said he will be at practive today.
"I was very gratified about the trade and I'll try to make the same contribution to the Redskins I did to the Dolphins," Malone said.
Malone injured the ankle in Miami's victory over Cincinnati Monday night and the Redskins are not counting on him for duty this week. Nevertheless, Malone said. "It's possible I could play. I'll just have to see how it is. I still have to learn a whole new system."
The acquisition of Malone, in addition to giving the Redskins another top running back has enable Coach Jack Pardee to move rookie Tony Green to wide receiver, a shift contemplated for some time.
Green practiced at receiver and running back yesterday, but spent most of his time with the pass catchers.
"We plan on using Tony at wide receiver some," Pardee said. "There's a big need for him there, at least until (Danny) Buggs gets back."
Pardee said he is looking for ways to play Green more.
"As long as Mike (Thomas) is running and blocking well, it's tough to get Tony in the game," Pardee said. "But Tony can move the ball so we have to find some way to get him in there.
"I know if we were defensing a team with Tony Green on it I'd be worried. He hasn't touched the ball from scrimmage since the Baltimore preseason game and we have to change that."
Pardee said he had planned to work Green at wide receiver before he got hurt in St. Louis four weeks ago. "He has good hands and quick feet," Pardee said. "He just hasn't worked much on pass patterns."
Excluding Green, the Redskins still have five running backs: starters Thomas and John Riggins and reserves Clarence Harmon, Ike Furts and, now, Malone.
The 5-foot-10, 193-pound Malone, a four-year starter at Miami before the Dolphins acquired Delvia Williams this season from the San Francisco tiara, is the slashing, game treaking ball carrier Pardee and General Manager Bobby Beathard have been looking for.
He definitely has the capability of being a starter," said Pardee. "I hope nothing happens to Mike or John, but Malone is a good ball player. We're bringing him in because we think he can play. He can play special teams, but we brought him here as a runner.
"If you have three or four backs who can play, they can give each other a break and they can all run harder and block harder."
Most of Malone's duties this season with Miami were on the special teams. He carried the ball only six times for 13 yards. Malone didn't like that, but said he is leaving Miami without bitterness.
"I'm leaving on good terms," he said.
"Coach Jack Pardee and Bobby Beathard have done a good job in Washington and I'm looking forward to playing there," he added. "Bobby drafted me in 1974 and I have always like him."
Pardee said he plans to try Malone at both halfback and fullback, which pleases Malone.
"I was a fullback in college and I like that position because I can hit the quick opener," he said. "I never played fullback in Miami, though."
Because of his proven ability, Malone has to be considered as a starter somewhere along the way.
Riggins is now one of the premier fullbacks in the NFL and has rushed for 498 yards this season.
Thomas, who is playing out his option, has had a medicore season as a ball carrier, but is blocking well and is the Redskins' leading pass receiver with 13 receptions.
In all probability, all three will get their minutes.
"I think that with a 16 game schedule, everyone will play a lot," Malone said. "I'd just like to get a little more time that I got here (in Miami).
"It's a mystery to me why I'm not playing and what happened to me in Miami. All I can do is try to regroup."
The only Redskins who did not practice yesterday were cornerback Lemar Parrish, with a "bad back," and guard Donnie Hickman, who has a virus . . . The Eagles will start two rookies as outside linebackers against the Redskins. Mike Osborn will replace injured John Bunting and Reggie Wilkes will replace Drew Mahalic, who has an allergy condition . . . The Eagles said the game is sold out.