Chris Hanburger, the arm-tackling terror of a linebacker and defensive signal-caller the last six years, was placed on waivers yesterday by the Washington Redskins, ending a 14-year career filled with All-Pro performances.
Hanburger, who will turn 38 in August, joined Ron McDole as still another victim of what is expected to be a major offseason housecleaning of Redskin veterans.
Contacted last night, Hanburger said, "I have no comment right now. I have nothing to say one way or the other."
"Age takes its toll," Redskin Coach Jack Pardee said yesterday of the man once considered to be among the swiftest men ever to play outside linebacker. But for the last two seasons, as Pardee said yesterday, "he wasn't up to what he used to be."
Neither Pardee nor General Manager Bobby Beathard would say so publicly yesterday, but there are expected to be other major changes on the team, including the possibility that running back Mike Thomas and safety Jake Scott will be traded or waived, and that quarterback Billy Kilmer may be paid off for the second year of his contract-at $280,000 fro the year-to join Hanburger in retirement.
"Yes, that (paying Billy off) is an option," Pardee confirmed last night.
"But that hasn't been discussed yet. We are trying to get the team together for next year, and it (Kilmer's situation) hasn't come up. Yes it will. But there's no timetable. Billy's situation is a little different than Chris's because he (Kilmer) is under contract. Chris last year had signed a one-year contract with no option in it, so we were in negotiations.
"Chris had also indicated that he wanted us to let him know at the earliest date possible so that he could make other plans. We tried to accommodate him. With our needs and his, we felt it would be better to let him go earlier."
Pardee said that he will give reserve linebacker Pete Wysocki, a backup and special-teamer the last four years, "every opportunity" to start at Hanburger's position on the right side.
"Pete's been around, I think he's ready to play," Pardee said. "He proved it on special teams and now we'd like to see him do it on defense."
Hanburger came to the team as an unheralded 18th-round draft choice out of North Carolina in 1964, went on to play in nine postseason Pro Bowls and probably was George Allen's most trusted "general" during the Redskin glory years of the early 1970s.
Sam Huff, a former roommate and a close friend, said in a recent interview he thought Hanburger would go down as one of the all-time greats at his position.
"He's the best blitzing linebacker I've ever seen," Huff said. "He's so damned quick. He's the quickest linebacker I've ever seen.
Over the last two seasons, however, that quickness rarely was in evidence, the direct result of back and knee injuries that plagued Hanburger throughout the latter stages of his career.
An appendicitis attack just before the start of the 1977 season forced him to end a streak of 135 consecutive games, and he missed nine games that year.
Last season, he started all 16 Redskin games and, Beathard said yesterday, "He didn't have a real good year. Chris would be the first to tell you that.
"Our decision is based on the fact that we just felt we had to go with younger people. Chris had a great career, but we have to go in another direction.
Hanburger now can be claimed by any other National Football League team, and the Redskins would not be compensated for him.
That is not expected to happen, however, because of Hanburger's age and physical condition. He was making a $125,000-plus salary and probably would not play elsewhere for less. He also has a part ownership in a College Park car agency, another factor that is expected to keep him retired. CAPTION: Picture, Chris Hanburger