The Dancing Bear's last tango in RFK could well come Saturday.
"If I had to make a decision right now, I wouldn't be back," Redskin defensive end Ron McDole said yesterday. "I've had a lot of excitement and if Saturday is my last game, I have no regrets.
McDole is one of a number of Redskins veterans who may not be back next season. He is one, however, who will go out gracefully and in one piece, even if he is nearly 40 years old.
Among others, Billy Kilmer, Jake Scott, Diron Talbert, Chris Hanburger, Bill Brundige, Mike Curtis, Jean Fugett and Mike Thomas may not be Redskins next year.
Hanburger, 37, has had a sub-par season at linebacker. He has been hobbled by a bad leg and has had little support from the right side of the defensive line. He has not made known his plans for next season.
Kilmer, 39, is under contract for a reported $280,000 for next season, but it is not certain what the Redskins plan to do with him.
Linebacker Curtis has not been used much this season, but is anxious to play.
Defensive tackle Talbert had knee surgery before the second game with Dallas, but has said he wants to play again next season for the Redskins.
Another defensive tackle, Brundige, has been on injured reserve all season, but is expected to try to play again next year.
Of the younger players, Thomas is playing out his option and has not set the league afire this season. It is doubtful he will be a Redskin next season.
Fugett, at 27 a seven-year NFL veteran, is perhaps the most marketable Redskin. Next year will be his option year.
McDole lost his starting job to Karl Lorch nine games into the season and since has played mostly as a reserve.
"I haven't given retirement much thought", McDole said. "If I'm needed anc could be of some help, I'd want to play, but it gets into a lot of things.
"You want to play as long as you enjoy it, and as long as you can still do it, why not continue?"
For a football player of his age, McDole is in good physical condition. He said, though, he will have to have an offseason operation on his left arm to build up should muscles injured earlier this season.
"Any game can be your last game in this game," McDole said. "I just hope Saturday isn't my last game because I still hope we get in the playoffs. But this could very well be my last season."
Coach Jack Pardee said that as soon as the season is over "we'll sit down and make decisions on personnel. I'll talk to certain players and see what their plans are and how they are thinking.
"I just haven't gotten around to doing any of that yet. This season isn't through, yet. We're going to get into the playoffs somehow."
Fugett has had a bad knee most of the season and did not play up to his all-pro form of last season.
The Redskins also have not been that pleased with him this season.
"When I came to Washington I came with the idea this would be the last team I played for," Fugett said. "I'm from Baltimore, I bought a house in this area and this is my home."
Because of his injury, Fugett said, he was "severely limited in types of patterns and cuts I could do. It cut down on my options and effectiveness."
He has caught only 20 passes after catching 36 during last year's shorter season.
"Next year is my option year and it will have to be the Redskins' decision if they want to trade me to upgrade the team or what."