Redskin General Manager Bobby Beathard yesterday would not rule out the possibility that George Allen would return to coach the Washington Redskins, but indicated he probably would begin searching for a successor to Jack Pardee from among the ranks of current NFL assistant coaches.
Beathard, who was scheduled to fly to the West Coast today to begin what he described as the screening process, said he did not intend to talk to Allen on this trip, but "it's not up to me to eliminate him. Mr. Cooke is going to hire the coach."
Cooke was not saying anything yesterday about a possible successor to Pardee, and Beathard was not naming any names either. He did say, however, that if a choice came down to a pro assistant or a college coach, he most likely would go with the man from the NFL.
Several names have surfaced in recent weeks as speculation mounted or whether Pardee would be dismissed. Two men Beathard reportedly put at the top of his list were John Robinson, USC coach, and former Raider coach John Madden.
A list of highly regarded NFL assistants includes Joe Gibbs, offensive coordinator for San Diego; Dan Reeves, offensive coordinator of the Cowboys; Tom Bass, defensive coordinator at Tampa Bay; Dick Coury, the Eagles' wide receiver coach; George Perles, the Steelers' defensive coordinator, and Marty Schottenheimer, the Browns' defensive coordinator.
Several former NFL head coaches also are available, including former Colt coach Ted Marchibroda, former Chief and Saint coach Hank Stram, and Bum Phillips, last week fired by the Houston Oilers. Reports persist, however, that Phillips soon will be named to coach the Saints.
"I have not been contacted by the Redskins and I would not go up there and talk to them anyway, not under the conditions Jack Pardee had," Phillips said last night. "Two people can't run a football team and win. I'd be interested only if I could guide the trades, the waivers, the draft. So I'm not interested."
Detroit Coach Monte Clark, an assistant coach at Miami when Beathard was the Dolphins' personnel director, also is reportedly unhappy in Detroit and may be available. Beathard also is very good friends with University of Miami Coach Howard Schnellenberger, a former Dolphin assistant and head coach with the Baltimore Colts. And, for a longshot possibility, there is Hugh Campbell, the 39-year-old head coach of the Edmonton Eskimos, the Grey Cup champions in the Canadian Football League. Campbell is a firm believer in a wide-open offense, something the Redskins haven't had since the days of Otto Graham.
A move by Cooke to Allen, who coached the Redskins from 1971 until he was fired after the 1977 season, would be a surprise. Allen said yesterday from his home in Palos Verdes, Calif., that "with any job I took, I would have to have complete control of the football program.
"When you have the know-how and the experience yourself, why should you have some guy telling you what to do?" Allen asked, adding that he was not referring to Beathard. "The title means nothing to me, coach or general manager. But I would have to have the ability to do what I had to do -- on the field, the draft, all the personnel."
Allen again said he had not been contacted by the Redskins, and added that "I'm not sure we could ever recapture what we had there before. I'm not sure it could be done."
Asked specifically if he was interested in the job, he said, "It isn't right for me to comment on anything like that at this time. It's distasteful, like talking when somebody has passed away.
"I'll say something in a few days. No, I won't call Mr. Cooke. I don't call anybody when a job opens. They all know how to get in touch with me. But yes, if the right thing comes along, I'd like to coach."
Robinson signed a one-year extension on his contract at USC that carries it through 1985, but that does not preclude the Redskins from making a pitch. Robinson was not available to comment yesterday.
Madden said that he had not been approached by the Redskins and "even if they did, I would say no, absolutely not. I coached for 20 years and I endjoyed it, but I decided I did not want to do it any more. There is nothing that would make me come to Washington. It makes no difference what the price is."
One man who said he was definitely interested was Cowboy assistant Reeves, adding that he has never been approached. "Every time a job comes up my name comes up, I guess. But I would be very interested in talking to the Redskins. I am ready to make a move."