Ron McDole's eight-year career with the Washington Redskins ended yesterday with the formal announcement that he had not been extended a qualifying offer to rejoin the team for the 1979 season.
The Washington Post reported in Wednesday's editions that McDole, who had no option clause on his 1978 contract, and linebacker Chris Hanburger no longer fit into Redskins plans for 1979.
The club also announced that Hanburger had been sent a letter informing him that the option year on his contract with the team had been renewed. But team sources indicated that was done mostly as a formality, and that Hanburger is not expected to come back next year.
Those sources also indicated that free safety Jake Scott is not expected to return next season, and that several teams have expressed interest in making a trade for the veteran, considered one of the major divisive influences on the team in 1978.
Five other Redskins will join McDole as free agents today -- safety Ken Houston, running back Mike Thomas, wide receiver Danny Buggs, running back Ike Forte and reserve defensive lineman Bob Heinz.
Unlike McDole, however, those five have been extended qualifying offers. If any of the players receive bids from any other team, the Redskins would have the right to match the offers, or receive draft choices as compensation if they decided not to match the offers.
General Manager Bobby Beathard said he anticipates no problem signing Houston, Forte, Buggs or Heinz. The same cannot be said for Thomas, with whom the coaching staff was disenchanted in 1978.
Beathard indicated the team is not renewing the option year of rookie defensive tackle Bill Seibolt, a free agent from Boston College, who spent last season on injured reserve after suffering a knee injury in training camp. He becomes a free agent today and the Redskins will have no rights to him.
Technically, the Redskins could retain rights to McDole if he signs with another club before April 15. However, because of his 18 years in the league, another club would have to offer him a minimum of $285,000 for the Redskins to be compensated. That is not expected.