There is a queasy feeling in this city in which little is permanent, because after tomorrow it appears likely the familiar Redskins will close down for major repairs.
Geriatric fixtures such as Ron McDole, Billy Kilmer, Diron Talbert, Chris Hanburger, Bill Brundige and Jake Scott, who have outlasted a parade of presidents, may be dragging their patched-up bones over Washington turf for the last time.
Of them all, the most tragic loss for Washington would br Scott. Not because he is still, at age 33, a feared and reckless free safety (he leads the team in interceptions), but because he is unusual in the history of Washington characters: a baffling and fascinating recruit, a one-edition museum piece that ought to be cherished for its oddity, even if the sight of it confuses the eye.
But after Saturday, this curiosity may depart Washington, still unviewed, for his Colorado hideaway, which cannot be reached by conventional motor vehicles, Scott likes it that way.
Predictably, the balding bachelor would not consent, to be interviewed. He speaks only to people he likes, and he categorically dislikes reporters, dismissing them with his finest profanity, or, in a less-talkative posture, pressing his lips firmly together and hand-signaling them out of sight, as if he were trying to communicate with a nonhearing person.
And what a shame, for Scott's journey from RFK Stadium clubhouse boy to Redskin hero-villain should be recorded.
Scott the hero is more respected for his unrestrained play and loved for his loyalty and honesty than any other Redskin. When the alumni club voted him the team's most valuable player last year, he said he didn't deserve it. He said Ken Houston did.
But Scott the villain, the pool player kicked out of Washington-Lee High School in Arlington, the college fun-seeker who left Georgia a year early for money in the Canadian Football League, the Miami Dolphins star who worshipped and then rejected Don Shula, the Redskin needler who spits insults as easily as tobacco juice, also is more fiercely despised than any other Redskin.
Those who love him and those who don't love him agree on two things: Scott gives 100 percent on a football field, and he tells you straight out what he thinks.
Dick Anderson, who played in the same secondary with Scott at Miami and used to own a Colorado ranch with him before Scott bought his own, said, "Jake is the most honest, straightforward individual I've ever met. He tells you the truth. If I had to depend on someone in an ambush situation, be if war, football or business, Jake Scott is the person I'd want with me in a fight.
"I wouldn't try to explain or say anything about the way Jake is with people he doesn't like. He's fiercely loyal to his friends, chooses what he wants to do and leads his own life, and he makes no bones about it. If he doesn't like you, he'll tell you. I respect Jske Scott immensely."
One Redskin said, "His dealings with me have been very negative. He is very sarcastic, to the point where it is beyond being funny. His needling can be distracting."
Houston said, "Jake is very different. He is a loner because he is so truthful. A lot of times people don't want to hear the truth. We've never had a cross word, and we talk all the time. I've learned a lot from him. He's the smartest player on our defense."
Another man who has known Scott for years describes him as, "The prototype of the American boy who is so physically gifted that he's been able to get away with anything and everything. There is no doubt that he is a social dropout. He's a strange, strange fella."
Scott's life, pieced together from yellowed clippings and comments from various people who know him, seems to be a continuous series of colorful and questionable events, starting at Washington-Lee High. One year, he missed 50 of 182 school days and eventually was expelled, but he is considered the high school's all-time athletic hero, and his football coach, now Athletic Director John Young-blood, still lauds him, calling him "the most courageous player we ever saw."
Scott suffered some illnesses while in high school and has been injured and repaired throughout his career (he still has a pin in his elbow and five screws in his right hand), but he told a friend he was asked to leave high school "because I spent more time with a pool cue."
Scott much preferred football to the classroom ("He had tunnel vision," Youngblood admitted) but when it reached the point later at the University of Georgia where his grades were becoming a serious problem, he straightened up and made the South-eastern Conference all-academic team.
Scott was notorious for breaking curfew and engaging in water fights and other partying activites, and a source close to the Georgia team said that, "Jake was unquestionably the most exciting player in the Vince Dooley era."
Scott made All-America in 1968 but passed up his senior year to go to the Canadian Football League for a variety of reasons: Among them some disagreements with Coach Dooley over bowl bids and his desire to play on offense.
Scott showed up a year later in Miami and there Dolphin Coach Don Shula became something of a father figure. Scott's parents are separated and he was raised by his mother, Mary a professor at Georgia State.
At Miami, Scott blossomed into an amazing and fearless player, earning all-pro honors and being named most valuable player in Super Bowl 7. He played in one Super Bowl with two broken hands.
But after the 1974 season, Scott refused to attend a mandatory awards banquet (he disdains such functions) and Shula fined him. At the same time, Scott was parlaying an offer from the World Football League's Hawaii franchise into a sizable Miami raise, and there were yet more disagreements between Scott and Shula in the following year. Scott was suspended for refusing to take an injection in a painful shoulder and play in the second half of a 1976 exhibition game and his wish to be traded was granted eight days later when he and a draft choice were sent to Washington for Bryant Salter.
When Scott arrived in Washington he said he thought he had gone to football heaven. He eventually moved in with quarterback Billy Kilmer and still lives with him now, even though Kilmer has married.
In the offseason, Scott raises cattle on his ranch in Colorado, located in the mountains halfway between Vail and Aspen. His nearest neighbor is five miles away and his luxurious home, furnished with antiques but devoid of football memorabilia, is accessible only by a five-mile ride in his four-wheel-drive vehicle, or in one of his seven snowmobiles.
One person who has known Scott a long time said that he is making enough money ($125,000 a year) to do what he wants to do, which is to drop out of society. Scott, when he was still giving interviews four years ago, was quoted as saying. "I'd never be a slave to money or recognition."
True to his word, Scott waved away requests to speak at banquets or give endorsements, opting for skiing, motorcycle riding, visiting friends and family in Georgia, "or," said Scott, "any damn thing I want to do."
It is difficult to tell if Scott is happy.
"He is a very happy individual," said his mother, "but he's a lot like Shula and (George) Allen when it comes to losing. It just kills hi,. He's been that way all hs life and I'm sure he's miserable right now.
"I'm certain there are people who see him as a miserable person whom they would like, because he'll say what he thinks."
Mary Scott is proud of her son and is gracious in talking about him. She was asked why there was such diverse opinion about him and why he seems to isolate himself.
"He's just private," she said, "but he loves people, too."
Mary Scott apologized for not being able to explain her son any better.
"He's a real character," she said. "The only way to explain Jake is in a book. People are calling here all the time, wanting to write a book about him. He doesn't want that." CAPTION: Picture 1,2, Jake Scott, shown above returning an intercepted pass for the Redskins, isolates himself from football and mankind in the offseason, raising cattle on a Colorado mountain ranch accessible "only by a five-mile ride in a four-wheel-drive vehicle."
Photos by Richard Darcey-The Washington Post