The ongoing controversy between the National Football League and Oakland Raider owner Al Davis will dominate the league's annual week-long meeting that begins today in Maui, Hawaii.
But Bobby Beathard, the Redskin general manager, has something else on his mind: trades.
Beathard doesn't expect to come back from Hawaii with many new players or extra draft choices, but he hopes he can lay the groundwork for future moves.
"It's typical that a lot of talking is done at the meetings and then later, some of it results in a trade," Beathard said. "This is a great opportunity to get a feel about what is going on and what our possibilities are."
Beathard still is seeking to fulfill the goal he set for himself midway through last season: he wants to replace the club's second-, third- and fourth-round picks, which have been traded away. To do so, he is willing to give up players or even his No. 1 choice, provided he receives another No. 1, plus any of those missing selections.
If he also could pick up a speedy halfback without hurting his present draft situation, so much the better. The word is out that he wants to wheel and deal, and such clubs as Miami, New Orleans and Oakland are interested.
There are a few quality halfbacks reportedly on the trading block, including Baltimore's Joe Washington and Los Angeles' Elvis Peacock. But Beathard will consider only those deals that don't involve Washington giving up high draft picks and getting only players in return.
"We're not going to give up the good picks anymore," said Beathard, who has been criticized for not protecting his top choices well enough.
"But that's the problem. A lot of clubs just don't want to trade draft choices."
Although the NFL-Davis court battle is not an official agenda topic at the meetings, Commissioner Pete Rozelle is expected to discuss the controversy at length with league executives. The case is scheduled to begin March 23 in Los Angeles.
The owners will consider proposed rule changes, including one that would alter the present conduct of overtime games.
Under the overtime proposal, if a team scores on its first possession, the other club would be given an equal number of plays either to tie or win the game, as long as it could sustain a drive. If a tie resulted, the overtime would continue.
Other proposals would:
Change the intentional-grounding rule from loss of down on the 15-yard penalty to loss of down with penalty at the spot where the flag was dropped.
Reduce the penalty for clipping in some cases from 15 to five yards.
Allow place-kickers to use a tee.
Reduce some pass-interference penalties. If the interference was judged not to be flagrant, a 10-yard penalty and an automatic first down would result. nPresent rules place the ball at the spot of the penalty.