While speculation abounds in the National Football League about the future role of majority owner Jack Kent Cooke with the Washington Redskins, club staff members have adopted what best can be described as a "don't worry" approach.
"How can you worry about something you can't control?" asked one staffer, who asked to remain annoymous. "Sure there has been some talk and some concern, but that's the extent of it.
"We all know Cooke's reputation. He doesn't like beong on the sidelines for long. But I just can't see him staying very long in the Washington area, once he sits through one of our win ters."
Cooke, who owns 86 percent of the team, has been a mostly silen partner as Edward Bennett Williams, team president and owner of the rest of the stock, ran the club.
But Cooke's decision to take up residence in Virginia, just 30 minutes from Redskin Park, and Williams' decision to buy the Baltimore Orioles, could change matters.
Despite denials, will Williams eventually relinquish his Redskin post to Cooke and concentrate on the Orioles? Or will Cooke insist that the move be made?
Asked recently by a reporter if he was contemplating a more active role in Redskin management, Cooke said, "Not necessarily and I'm not trying to be vague. The president of the club is Edward Bennett Williams, who has done a remarkably good job. I plan to do as before - which is nothing at all except talk things over frequently with Edward Bennett Williams."
Redskin staff members are just hoping that Cooke will not get impatient with the current rebuilding attempts and start dictating changes just when they think General Manager Bobby Beathard and Coach Jack Pardee are making progress.
"The last thing this team needs now is more turmoil," said one staffer. "This isn't going to be done overnight, but can Mr. Cooke accept anyth ng less than championship teams? We just aren't going to produce one immediately. It takes time.
To Beathard, any talk about Cooke's future involvement makes little sense. "I can't say that I've been thinking about it very much," he said. "Maybe we all are curious, but that is the extent of it.
"I've spoken to both men. Mr. Williams assured me that there will not be any changes. I didn't ask Mr. Cooke for any assurances. But he talked about his great respect for Mr. Williams and how well Mr. Williams is qualified for the team presidence.
"There is no reason to speculate about it. I'm just here doing my job the best I can. And I just take Mr. Williams at his word."
Beathard says his relationship with Williams has not changed since he was hired 18 months ago.
"Mr. Williams wants to be kept abreast of what is going on," Beathard said. "We meet for breakfast occasionally and we talk on the phone every week.
"He's a president you can sit down and talk to. He certainly wouldn't be classified as an owner who meddles.
"I'm comfortable now and I think Jack (Pardee) is, too. I don't think either one of us would like to get into a situation where we weren't comfortable. I don't think that would happen here."