Fullback John Riggins rejoined the Redskins yesterday after a one-day absence. He received no contractual concessions from the club.
Riggins did not report for practice Wednesday after asking the Redskins to guarantee the remaining years of his $300,000-a-season pact. Today, he would not talk about his walkout, which will cost him $3,000 in fines and lost salary.
Coach Jack Pardee said Riggins was concerned that his departure had disrupted preparations for Sunday's season opener against Houston.
"He didn't want to take away from the team," Pardee said. "He's that kind of guy. He didn't want to hurt his teammates. He was concerned about it.
"But it did hurt. It can't be changed, but he didn't do it with that in mind."
Riggins showed up a Redskin Park about 10:30 a.m., just before the daily team meetings. He went to the locker room, talked to friends on the club, then was greeted by Pardee and General Manager Bobby Beathard.
"We talked and then we met in my office," Beathard said. "I told him that it was nothing personal but that we just couldn't start on his contract. If we did it for him, we'd have to do it for everyone. That's a bad precedent.
"I think John was sorry he left. He told me to consider that he played hooky for a day."
Riggins had talked to Beathard Wednesday about the Redskins "putting it in writing" that he was part of their future plans. To Beathard, that was a request to guarantee the rest of the contract, a five-year, $1.5 million deal that Riggins signed in 1976. And the club would not make such a commitment.
When asked yesterday why he left, then returned so soon, Riggins said: "I'll issue this statement and I'll say it one time, so listen good.
"The fish weren't biting yesterday. I went fishing, and that's it. Case closed."
Asked if he would have stayed out longer "had the fish been biting," he smiled and said, "Not necessarily."
If Riggins had missed yesterday's workout, he might have been ticketed for bench duty Sunday, Pardee indicated.
"It would be hard to play, to know what we are doing," Pardee said. "You have a blitz and hit our quarterback, then it really takes away from everything."
Even with Riggins back, Pardee admitted he is concerned that the events of the past week might hinder preparations for the opener. In addition to Riggins' walkout, Tony Green was cut and guard Dan Nugent sidelined with a bad back.
"We've worked since Dec. 17 to forget about last season and get ready for the season-opener and a fresh start," Pardee said. "Every day is important in preseason, but now they really start counting. It's very untimely for things like this to come up.
"In our profession, there are 12 months in a year and seven days in a week but once those 16 league games start, (they) come in a hurry. You just can't waste an hour or a day. Every hour has to be accounted for, every meeting, every practice session and they can't be disrupted.
"But I've been pleased with the team all along and its attitude. We have to play well and play hard as a team. If we lose an individual, we still have to go ahead and play. Everyone else can't worry about another individual's job. With or without John, we are going to play and play well and win."
To try to settle things down, the Redskins will not make any more personnel changes this week unless absolutely necessary.
"We don't want anyone looking over this shoulder," Beathard said. "I think they should realize now that we have found our 45 players and if they are cut, it's because they've played themselves out of a spot."
The recent whirlwind pace has shaken some players. "I know some feel that when it comes to making a decision on a guy about this season or the next three," one player said, "they are going with the next three.
"It looks like if they can win this year, fine, but they're more concerned about the future. Otherwise, why would they do what they're doing?
Another player said that, "Sometimes, you're just so frustrated that's all you can do. You realize you're a piece of meat and they can do with you whatever they want, whether you're the highest-paid star or the lowest paid rookie.
"It's tough to keep your pride."
Asked if players were talking much about recent events, young linebacker Don Hover said: "There really hasn't been a lot of discussion. We've all just gone about our business.
"I really think we've had a good week of practice. Everything is starting to mesh together and that's good. You don't have any control over things, so why worry? I would think we all go out hard every day and play our best. That's the only thing you can do."
"I haven't had any trouble keeping my mind on the game," guard Jeff Williams said. "It's a big game for us and I have enough to worry about without getting into the rest of it. If things are disrupted, I haven't noticed."
With the final roster cutdown date so close to the season-opening game and with so many roster changes, Pardee hasn't had time to draw the team together. The team has eight rookies, three others with no NFL game experience and 18 not on last year's first-game roster.
That's why it is important for the Redskins to play well against Houston, even if they lose. An embarrassment could damage the club's harmony.
Pardee is convinced that the disruptions have been absorbed well enough to reduce the possibilities of any lasting scars.
"I don't think it's been disruptive to positions," he said. "We've managed to fill in where we needed it. The players understand what we are doing. They've kept their concentration and we've had good practices.
"We haven't let anything stop what we are doing. We haven't stopped to try to catch one guy up. We haven't started training camp over again."
Beathard gave former Illinois and McKinley High star Lonnie Perrin a one-day tryout yesterday. Perrin, cut by the Denver Broncos this week, plays both backfield positions and is a kick returner. He could be added to the roster if anyone falters . . . Pardee said everyone "participated and was healthy" for practice . . . Mark Mosely, who has had a sore leg, resumed kicking.