Contract negotiations between the Redskins and offensive tackle Mark May, their No. 1 draft choice, stalled again yesterday, ending any posibility that May would report along with other rookies and selected veterans by 6 p.m. today for the start of training camp in Carlisle, Pa.
May, who previously had not talked about his contract problems, said after the 90-minute negotiation session that it was a "definite possibility" he would sit out the entire season. He said he was very disappointed in how he had been treated in the talks by the Redskins, especially by General Manager Bobby Beathard.
Said Beathard: "I believe we might never come to an agreement. It's that bad. They believe they are right in what they are asking and they aren't going to change. But we aren't close and unless they do change, this could last a year."
Both May and his attorney, Ralph Cindrich, said they believe Beathard is impeding the negotiations, which Cindrich termed hopeless. They said they would rather deal with owner Jack Kent Cooke, or, as Cindrich put it, "whoever is really calling the shots. We're at an impasse with Bobby. It's almost useless for us to talk with him. I'm not so sure the Redskins aren't being misled by their representative (Beathard) and I'd like to set them straight."
When asked about this response, Cooke had no comment. Last year Beathard was equally as bleak about negotiations with cornerback Jeris White, but a month later reached agreement with White and his representative, Howard Slusher.
"Slusher is tough but not this tough," Beathard said of Cindrich. "I think they've been misinformed. I told them to call around and get some realistic figures that others are signing for."
It is believed the Redskins are offering May a starting salary in the $70,000 range, with a signing bonus of about $125,000. But Cindrich said yesterday that the contract reportedly signed by defensive back Hanford Dixon with Cleveland ($80,000 salary the first year, $115,000 the second, $130,000 the third, with a $150,000 bonus) "is far better than what we're being offered. If they would offer us $80,000, I'd be happy. And Mark agrees."
May, who talked directly with Beathard yesterday for the first time since the negotiations began, said he was seriously considering alternative offers outside of football that would, over a two- or three- year period, equal the contract offered by the Redskins. Both he and Cindrich would not rule out MayS signing with a Canadian Football League team, although Cindrich refused to elaborate.
"I don't see any reason in how they are negotiating," May said of the Redskins. "We've gone as far as we can go. We've been flexible, too flexible. We've come down and down some more and they've done nothing. The time has come where they have to make a decision about what they want to do. We're willing to talk, but not unless they are willing to change.
"There won't be a breakthrough unless it comes from them. If they had spent as much energy trying to sign me as they have dealing with John Riggins, I'd have been signed a month ago. But I definitely feel Bobby is not that interested in signing me."
Beathard disagreed: "We want to sign Mark, but they came in yesterday with an offer that was higher than we had been talking about. There is a real difference of opinion here. The money they are talking about is so out of line it's unbelievable."
Cindrich, however, said his figure yesterday "was lower. Mark was there. He knows the truth.Bobby is just wrong."
A major problem apparently revolves around the size of the signing bonus. Last year, the Redskins gave Art Monk a $200,000 signing bonus and May reportedly is seeking a higher figure. But the Redskins want to keep the amount considerably under what they paid Monk.
It also is believed that the Redskins gave quarterback Tom Flick, a fourth-round choice, a $55,000 bonus, plus a three-year contract calling for $50,000 the first year, $60,000 the second and $80,000 the third, plus smaller bonuses. Cindrich and May do not consider the club's offer to May to be that much higher, despite his stature as a No. 1 choice.
"They are signing No. 1 choices below me for far more than I've been offered, or that I'm willing to accept," May said. "I like Washington and I want to play for them. But I'm not going to accept something I'm not going to live with. I want to be in camp and when I got drafted, I thought I would be there, for the start. It's disappointing that I'm not."
Beathard said he would call Cindrich today. "I don't want to break off negotiations," he said. "I want to keep the lines open. If I do, maybe something will happen. I just hope they can come back with a revised offer."