The Washington Redskins have sent out an SOS for offensive linemen.
With Dan Nugent and Jim Harlan hospitalized with spinal ailments and Terry Hermeling hobbled by a bad knee, the team has been reduced to a handful of offensive blockers, not enough, according to Coach Jack Pardee, "to carry on the kind of work we need in practice."
So Washington is searching the waiver and trade lists for players who can give veterans like tackle George Starke some relief.
"We are tailoring practices to work around the line shortage," said Pardee, "but we never intended to let the numbers get so low, certainly not this early. It hurts our young linebackers because they don't get enough work and it hurtsour third quarterback (Gary Valbuena) because you can't find enough time for everyone."
Starke and center Bob Kuziel have been particularly impressive lately. Starke, coming off a knee injury, and free agent Greg Dubinetz are the only tackles in camp. Starke is on the field constantly, taking turn after turn in the tough heat and humidity.
"He never complains," said Pardee. "He's been fantastic. But you can push an old war horse too much. This is a long season and we don't want to wear him out."
Kuziel, who does share time with the always-hustling Ted Fritsch, is plagued by both knee and hamstring pulls. Yet the practice field is constantly filled with the sound of his voice, urging on fellow linemen.
Fullback Don Testerman, who has been plagued with back problems, now has a strained right shoulder and did not practice today . . . Surgery on Perry Brooks' torn biceps muscle was successful. He will begin rehabilitation in about 10 days.