Washington Redskin fullback John Riggins went AWOL from training camp today and Joe Lavender failed to show up for the afternoon practice.
Previously, cornerback Jeris White had not reported by Saturday's 9 a.m. deadline. He is involved in a contract hassle with the club.
Redskin officials remained puzzled about both Riggins and cornerback Lavender. Neither told the team why he is not in camp.
Riggins, who staged a brief walkout over a contract problem just before the first game last season, was incamp the last two nights. But immediately after lunch today, he left without talking to Coach Jack Pardee or any other team official.
According to friends on the team, Riggins had joked about leaving Saturday night. He reportedly has some personal problems, but no one connected with the Redskins could rule out a renewal of contract difficulties.
Lavender talked with Pardee by phone Friday and indicated he would be reporting Friday night, after a friend drove him here from Philadelphia.
That's the last the Redskins had heard from him. Attempts today by Pardee and General Manager Bobby Beathard to find him were fruitless.
Relatives of Lavender in California said he was in Philadelphia and that he should be in camp either late tonight or Monday. They gave no reason why he had not yet reported.
Pardee said Riggins "had some personal problems he is trying to work out, from what I understand. He missed our mandatory meeting this afternoon and I never talked to him.
"But in talking to some people, they pretty much knew it was coming. If we can give him help in trying to solve his problems, we will. Things bother people and they work things out the best way they can. I'm going to stay open-minded until I find out what's going on."
Pardee said Riggins is subject to fines under team rules. Last year, he was fined $500 a day for missing practice. Pardee said that Riggins had completed the various mandatory strength tests before leaving and his strength is up. "It indicated to me he had worked in the offseason and that he is interested in football and was thinking about it."
Riggins indicated to The Washington Post during a May minicamp at Redskin Park that his contract difficulties with the team -- he had been seeking a guaranteed final year -- no longer existed.
Until they learn otherwise, the redskins are assuming that the contract is not involved in this latest incident.
"John and I haven't talked about his contract in months," Beathard said. "This surprises me as much as it does anyone else. There was no indication as to what is going on."
As far as White is concerned Beathard said there were no new developments.
"We are just playing a waiting game right now," he said about those stalled contract talks.
Beathard has his fingers crossed that the Benny Malone contract talks are back on track. He hopes to sign the running back to a new pact Monday . . . As expected, Buddy Hardeman ran in the No. 1 halfback spot with fullback Clarence Harmon in Riggins spot. . . There were no surprises at other positions. Ron Saul ran ahead of Dan Nugent at guard, Ken Houston ahead of Tony Peters at strong safety, Pete Wysocki ahead of Monte Coleman at linebacker and John McDaniel and Ricky Thompson ahead of rookie Art Monk as wide receivers . . . Another veteran, Paul Smith, is expected to report Monday. He was given permission by Pardee to come in late in order to solve some personal problems . . . Tackle Terry Hermeling is bothered by a hamstring . . . Two rookies, cornerback Gary McNeal and linebacker Bubba Brown, suffered sprained ankles in Saturday's scrimmage and did not work out today.