It would not be quite accurate to say that George Allen and Len Hauss were laughing with tears in their eyes yesterday when telephoned for their reactions to the Redskins waiving Billy Kilmer.
Yet they did attempt humor-Allen a song, Hauss trenchant satire.
Hauss said, "Give 'em (the Redskins) a 12-4 record next season and everybody will forget us. When they were 6-0 last season everybody forgot I was gone-but when it changed some people noticed."
"Well," said Allen, "you know I said last year when Hauss and some of the others left and I left: 'it's the end of an era.'"
Allen's wife, Etty, interrupted and said, "George is singing a song, 'They're Breaking Up That Old Gang of Mine.'"
Allen observed, "Ga., said he had talked to Kilmer and reported, "He didn't say much. I don't think he was surprised. I think he'll be all right; he's a grown man and a damned good one. You can't tell me that in those last five or six games last year he couldn't have pulled one out and won some."
Allen remarked, "It's really sad to me because Billy was the first player I traded for when I took over. It is the end of a great era. He did a great job and he can still play football. So can Chris Hanburger.
"If I were coaching I'd pick up both of them. I'd pick up Hauss and Rusty Tillman, too. There're certain types of players you need to win. Jake Scott [who also got his pink slip] was a great addition. We got him and a draft choice from Miami. He had his best year last year."
Etty Allen interrupted again in Patlos Verdes, Calif., and said, with no restraint by her husband, "The Redskins are trying to get a built-in alibi for losing-you know, 'We have to rebuild and we can't be expected to win while rebuilding.'"
Allen then said, "I wish I were a writer. . . .
"Billy was at his best under pressure,. I remember a game at RFK Stadium against the Giants. He got hit on a blitz and his nose and face were bleeding. The doctor and trainer went on the field and I said to them, "Patch him up. I want him for the two-minute drill.' Billy took them in for the winning touchdown, on a pass to Mike Thomas.
"In my last two games as Redskins coach we played the Cardinals and Rams. The Cards had to win to make the playoffs and so did we. Billy beat them on a pass to Calvin Hill and Eddie Brown made that big interception. We beat the Rams, 17-14.
"I think I'll play that record, 'They're Breaking Up That Old Gang of Mine.'"
It was mentioned to Hauss that other Redskins, so far not named, had been put on waivers and he said, "I wouldn't be surprised.
"I expected it," he said of Kilmer's release. It's all been in the papers. I've got friends who sent them to me.
"I don't think the organization is interested in winning games. They just want the people around they like, and that's their prerogative," said Hauss.
"I don't think the waiving of Billy is a good move. Jack (Pardee) had no answer really when he was asked about waiving Hanburger when he said 'Chris didn't have a good year.' I don't care what the anonymous sources said. I think it draws a picture.
"They got me first and anything I say now will sound like sour grapes. What gets me is that they talked about a downside. But you can't blame Kilmer, Christ and Scott."
Punter Mike Bragg said that if he "was in a war and in a foxhold, I'd like to have Kilmer right there next to me. It seems to me that somebody in the league will get and use him. He knows an awful lot of football, there's a great wealth of knowledge ther and somebody would be crazy not to pick him up."
"He's one of the most positive influences on me in terms of continuing under adversity," said tight end Jean Fugett. "Whenever I thought I had it bad I'd look at him and see what he's gone through and all of a sudden your problems are inconsequential.
"Having played against him, I always wondered how he made it onto the field. After playing with him for three years, I still wonder. But his knowledge of the game and his knowledge of his teammates, plus his ability to get guys to perform at their peak, was what made him great.
"He was just a very inspirational guy. The game I remember was against the Giants a couple of years ago. He got his nose torn apart. He's all bloody and he leaves the game and then he comes back and plays and helps us win. He was unbelievable." CAPTION: Pictures 1 and 2, Billy Kilmer, fierce and fiery warrior: top, scoring winning TD against Cowboys in 1975; bottom left, celebrating 1972 win over Eagles for NFC Eastern Division title; right, being treated for broken nose. Photos by Richard Darcey-The Washington Post