John Hilton, who has coached the Redskins' highly regarded special teams for the past two years, resigned yesterday because, "My heart wasn't in it any more and I was eating my guts out with what was happening to us this year."

Hilton stopped short of criticizing the officiating at Redskins games, but it is apparent he was becoming increasingly more upset, as he put it, "over what was happening to my people. I was being disruptive. You have to keep your composure but when I see things happening in a game situation I have a hard time doing that."

The unexpected resignation came at a time when Hilton's special teams are ranked second in the league in punt-return average, third in kickoff returns, third in opponents' punt-return average and sixth in opponent's kickoff-return average. Last year, the Redskins led the NFL in the latter two categories.

Coach Jack Pardee said he "regretted John's decision but he was concerned about his health. I could see what he was going through. His health is the most important thing." Pardee said Kirk Mee, the club's director of pro personnel, will take over Hilton's duties.

Hilton, 38, said he would like to "get into the offensive coaching." I would like to be a receiver coach and one day I would like to be a head coach. wI felt it was time to get out now. I probably should have. I have to do something fast, because I'm not blessed with a lot of money. I'm going to explore some othe opportunities.

"I wanted to stay, but I just couldn't do the job justice. It wasn't fair to myself or to the kids."