Lemar Parrish's attorney said yesterday he is convinced the Redskin cornerback walked out of training camp because of "misunderstandings and failures of communication" about the contract teammate Jeris White signed last week.
"Once all the facts are on the table for Lemar to see, he'll be playing again very quickly with the Washington Redskins," attorney Richard Bennett said.
Although Coach Jack Pardee said yesterday he expected both Parrish and cornerback Joe Lavender to end their two-day departure today, Bennett was much less specific in his predictions about Parrish.
"I think Lemar will be playing by opening day," Bennett said, "and I would hope he'll be back for Tampa Bay (Friday night)."
Bennett was not able to reach Parrish yesterday. Redskin officials had not talked to either player, although one of Lavender's business representatives told the team that Lavender was okay and would be back soon.
Safety Ken Houston talked to Parrish twice yesterday. Houston said that Parrish gave him no indication when he would return. Houston said he saw no connection between Parrish's departure and White's signing. Instead, Houston said, Parrish had been upset about his own contract for a long time.
"I believe him when he says it (the contract) has been eating at him," Houston said. "He's just picking his time to do it. It's just something that happened.
"He just said everything would be okay. He just had to do some thinking."
Parrish is earning $141,000, making him one of the highest paid cornerbacks in the league. On Monday, White signed a three-year contract, starting in the $115,000-$120,000 range. But one published report said that White would make $141,000 by the second year of the pact. General Manager Bobby Beathard said yesterday that the $141,000-for-White figure "is way off base. It's just not true. It's too bad Lemar didn't ask us first before assuming it was right."
Team sources said that Parrish had made frequent requests to the club about his present contract, but that team spokesmen believed Parrish had been satisfied.Parrish asked to be traded by Cincinnati two years ago because of contract difficulties.
Time is becoming crucial for the Redskins, who will leave tonight for Tampa Bay. The Redskins have only one cornerback in camp, Ray Waddy. White is on a two-week inactive list but is working out daily and can be activated any time.
The redskins have until Friday afternoon to decide if they will activate White. If they do they will have to make room on the 50-man roster by waiving a player or placing one on injured reserve.
"Jeris certanily figures in our plans and it probably would be good if he plays," Pardee said. "But we have to take this day to day and assess the physical condition of some of our players.We keep talking to the doctors and trainers about Terry Hermeling (flu), Brad Dusek (leg pull) and Tony Peters (groin pull).
"This is certainly disrupting to the team. Jeris and Ray have had to take all the snaps the last two days in practice. It's been force-feeding Jeris." a
To further complicate matters, Peters, who normally is a backup corner, can't play either safety or that spot because of the groin pull. Mike Nelms is being used some at strong safety as well as free safety and he also could fill in, if necessary, at cornerback.
Beathard said he wasn't sure yet why Lavender was out of camp, although he had to presume it was over contract problems. Lavender's agent in California told Beathard yesterday he had not heard from his client yesterday.
Lavender had been bothered most of the camp by illness. He reported late without first obtaining Pardee's approval and then he came back late to the Carlisle training base after one preseason game.
Parrish's attorney said that this was "a difficult problem. Professional athletes have egos like all other people.
"If Party A is a better player than Party B, he expects more money. It's a real concern, one that everyone has to remember when talking about athletes."
Bennett said that in this case, his Party A (Parrish) "is better and is being paid more money than Party B. If A was making less, then we would have difficulties, but that isn't the case. It's just been some misunderstanding that has led him (Parrish) to believe he isn't being paid enough."
Friends of Parrish on the team said he was very upset about the whole situation. "But in the end this all will be of little consequence," one player said. "It will be ironed out and everything will be cool."
Houston said he approached Parrish out of concern "about getting things settled before Dallas. And I wanted to see if there was anything I could do. I was worried about his as a man.
"Lemar knows our position in here. He knows how many cornerbacks we have and he's not going to leave us hanging. You miss a guy like him. You appreciate his perfection. And he knows that. It will all work out."
Meanwhile, Pardee said the combination of humidity and a smaller-than-expected squad had hurt the quality of practices.
"This is actually a smaller squad than we will be using during the regular season," he said. "The guys are getting tired and it makes it harder to get as much accomplished. But we haven't changed our routine one bit because of the workout."
Middle linebacker Neal Olkewicz, who strained a knee against Oakland Saturday night, has not worked out this week and will miss the Tampa game. But coaches feel he will be ready for the season opener against Dallas Sept. 8.
Two other injured players, Dusek and guard Jeff Williams, have begun practicing for the first time since early in camp. "We're encouraged by their progress," Pardee said.
The Redskins will substitute liberally against Tampa Bay, Pardee said. He indicated that quarterback Joe Theismann would play a half. "We'd like Mike (Kruczek) to play, too, but we haven't been able to practice him much this week, so I don't know how much he will play." . . . The Buc game will mark the Washington debut of fullback Wilbur Jackson. "He's coming along good and we expect to give him a lot of time," Pardee said. "There's no question he will be ready for Dallas." The standing team joke has everyone asking: "Has John (Riggins) come back?" . . . The Redskins will attend their annual welcome home luncheon at the Sheraton Park today before flying to Tampa. They will practice in Florida after meeting here in the morning.