He sat in a chair near midfield, basking in the sunshine and the glow he said he was getting from watching his Redskins run through a minicamp practice.

"Isn't this just wonderful?" Jack Kent Cooke finally said, turning to son John next to him. "God, I wish I could stay here all day."

Cooke had traveled from his Upperville, Va., estate to Redskin Park to see the result of his offseason handiwork, which included firing Coach Jack Pardee and hiring Joe Gibbs and one of the best-paid staffs in the National Football League.

His eyes seemed to dance as if he were watching a tennis match. And he seemed to absorb everything, from the number of catches made by receiver Kenny Harrison to the antics of Joe Bugel, a whirlwind offensive line coach who already is in midseason form.

"That Bugel, isn't he something?" exclaimed Cooke. "Look at him; he just never stops. Now that is enthusiasm for you."

Enthusiasm means a lot to Cooke, who firmly controls his Redskin team. But last year's team, in his opinion, was dull and lacking emotion, a major reason that Gibbs, not Pardee, was directing the minicamp.

"We're going to be exciting, really exciting," Cooke said. "You can see the change out here, the way everyone is moving around. These coaches are something. What a spirited group."

He wasn't exaggerating. For two hours while Cooke watched, the assistants ran the Redskins through a snappy workout, keeping what Gibbs loves to call "good tempo." And Bugel, a package of endless energy, was the No. 1 metronome.

From patting his linemen on the helmets to jumping into the arms of tackle Jerry Scanlan after one particularly good block, Bugel was everywhere, talking constantly. And when practice was over, he still had enough zip left to embrace Cooke with a big bear hug.

"Wonderful, wonderful," Cooke told him before shaking hands with the rest of the staff. The owner also was greeted by some of the players, including most of the secondary.

This wasn't the first time Cooke had watched a practice at the park. He was also a frequent visitor to training camp in Carlisle, Pa., last year. But things have changed. Cooke was more an observer last season; now he is involved heavily in the day-to-day operations of the team. And he talks almost daily with Gibbs or General Manager Bobby Beathard.

He also knows that if his controversial decision to fire last year's coaching staff proves hasty, he'll absorb much of the blame, a prospect he's willing to accept. But yesterday, the last thing on his mind was failure.

"I like what I see, I really do," Cooke said. "When does training camp begin?"

Then, after breezing through a television interview and telling Gibbs he had to head home "to make some money to pay all these salaries," Cooke walked to his car.

"I'll be back," he said. He was, three hours later for the afternoon workout.

Cornerback Lemar Parrish, apparently upset over a problem with payment for a plane ticket, did not show up for the afternoon practice. Gibbs and Beathard said Parrish had not told them he was leaving. "It bothers me," Gibbs said, "but I just hope the players will have enough confidence in me so they will tell me what is wrong." Since it is a voluntary camp, Parrish cannot be fined for leaving . . . Two teams have talked to fullback John Riggins about possible trades, but neither came away feeling Riggins was very receptive. "We are where we have been for weeks with this," Beathard said . . . Ex-Cardinal Terry Metcalf, now in the Canadian Football League, watched the morning session. He occasionally works out at Redskin Park, but the team has no plans to sign him.