Mike Thomas' attorney finally admitted yesterday, "I don't think Mike will be with the Redskins next season."
"I'm just tired of this whole thing," said John Dickens, Thomas' Dallas-based attorney. "We're working on a couple of teams for Mike, and I don't know where he'll be. I don't think it will be Washington. I'm sure now there will be a trade after the draft. I don't know what the problem is with the Redskins. I can't believe it's the money, despite what they say. But I don't even like to talk about it. I'm weary of it."
Redskin General Manager Bobby Beathard said he had talked by telephone with Dickens yesterday morning and stated, "One of the big problems trying to trade Mike is that they are asking so damned much money."
Thomas, who earned $110,000 last year while playing out his option, has been seeking a contract of $750,000 over five years.
"That's not attractive to other teams," Beathard said. "All I did with them (Dickens and Thomas' agent, Abner Haynes is suggest they get reasonable and we might have some luck.
"Yeah, we'd like to trade Mike, but right now it's on hold. It's something you can't push. You have to continue to make calls and see what interest there is. I suggested they talk to one team that's interested. But it's still lukewarm."
The same could also be said of Beathard's attempts to upgrade the Redskins' position in the NFL draft that gets under way this morning for everyone except Washington.
Beathard probably will not get to make his first selection until late this afternoon when the Redskins pick in the fourth round-the 103rd choice in the draft.
"I keep calling," he said, "but right now I don't anticipate any high choices in any deals we might make. We're basically talking about deals for draft choices, not players, and a lot of these teams are treating draft choices like gold, even lower picks. They don't want to part with them."
Nevertheless, activity was at a semi- feverish pitch yesterday at Redskin Park. Draft lists were being rearranged constantly, scouts were poised to scatter across the country to sign free agents Friday and trainer Bubba Tyer was flying through a snowstorm in the West to examine the knee of a player Beathard might take with one of his five choices.
Beathard was asked yesterday to name his choice as the top college player at each position, none of whom will be left on the board by the time the Redskins pick. His choices:
Tight end, Kellen Winslow, Missouri; wide receiver, Jerry Butler, Clemson; tailback, Otis Anderson, Miami; fullback, Charles Alexander, LSU; quarterback, Jack Thompson, Washington State; offensive tackle, Keith Dorney, Ohio State; guard, Greg Roberts, Oklahoma; center, Bob Shaw, Tennessee.
Defensive tackle, Mike Bell, Colorado State; middle linebacker, Tom Cousineau, Ohio State; outside linebacker, George Andrews, Nebraska; cornerback, Lawrence Johnson, Wisconsin; safety, Jeff Nixon, Richmond; kicker, Russell Erxleben, Texas.
The Redskins made a move to beef up their defensive line with the acquisition of Paul Smith, a 6-3, 256-pounder placed on waivers by Denver late last season. Smith, 33 and an 11-year veteran, was signed as a free agent and will be used at either defensive end, tackle or nose guard in the 3-4 defense. He played in the Pro Bowl in 1972 and 1973 and has played in a total of 131 games. CAPTION: Picture, Mike Thomas, who is asking for a five-year, $750,000 contract, will probably not be with Redskins next year, his lawyer said yesterday. "I'm tired of this whole thing," the lawyer said. By James M. Thresher-The Washington Post