Our friends in Canada allow only 15 Americans on each pro football team, which is a problem to fellows without George Allen's brains. Already, plots are hatching. Soon enough, Pierre Trudeau will grant Canadian citizenship to Texans who run the 40 in 4.6. George will send mounties to bring back Joe Montana, saying, "Everybody knows Montana used to be part of Canada."

This is going to get semi-serious in a minute, when Joe Theismann says playing for George again is a possibility, but the temptation is irresistible to imagine the old conniver at work in Canada.

George will ask Wayne Gretzky if he ever went out for a pass.

He'll tell Billy Kilmer to brush up on his French.

He'll start the first Canadian-American war by slipping Gordon Liddy into Athens to alter Herschel Walker's birth certificate, making the place of birth Running Dog, Saskatchewan.

At last, we have George to kick around again.

Yes, at long last, George has found someone crazy enough to hire him.


The same day Jack Pardee went to work in mud, Allen bought his way out of a three-year exile and into asylum in a foreign country.

For about $600,000, Allen can buy 20 percent of the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League. He also holds an option to buy the rest of the pathetic bundle by next Dec. 31. Most of the money men haven't been identified, but associates familiar with George's habits say he wouldn't make a nickel down payment on a fried egg.

So with probably none of his own money in it, George now has control of a football operation that has sunk so low it has nowhere to go but up. And up it will go, for whatever unkind cuts one applies to Nixon with a whistle, he is due this: the guy wins football games.

And now, when Pardee has quit football to go to work for the Runnels Mud Co., an oil outfit, here comes his old teacher back in business, soon to be strutting the sidelines, licking his thumb, tugging at his parka hood.

Well, maybe. George says he might not coach. He is owner, general manager, chief operating officer, head brain, full-time bottlewasher and parking lot attendant at Olympic Stadium. But he says he hasn't made up his mind if he'll coach.

Joe Theismann laughed when he read the morning paper yesterday.

"The part where it said 'it appears he will not coach the team,' somebody should have put in parentheses 'hah-hah' or 'we'll see,' " Theismann said. "I would be very surprised if Coach Allen doesn't coach. Every telecast he made of American football, he was coaching."

Theismann meant the coach was full to the brim with opinions and second-guessing in his work as a television commentator.

"So why wouldn't he coach at Montreal? Like you and I breathe air, Coach Allen breathes football."

Searching for an analogy, an air-breather said to Theismann, "Allen not coaching would be like Patton. . ."

Theismann intercepted the thought. "Him not coaching would be like Patton sitting in Washington and directing a war overseas."

Napoleon wandered around Elba, plotting his return, for a brief 11 months. It took Allen, a dictator of a later time, more than three years to find his way into the February sunshine. And now that he has emerged, presumably not seeing his shadow, the immediate worry is what this omen means to the Redskins.

It means Theismann now has a viable option.

With Allen as the chief brain of Montreal, and with Theismann at an apparent impasse in contract talks with the Redskins, it seems likely George would ask Theismann if he were interested in returning to Canada, where as a kid he played for the Toronto Argonauts in the CFL championship game.

No contacts have been made, Theismann said yesterday, and he doesn't know what might happen. The Alouettes have a rich quarterback now, Vince Ferragamo, who is guaranteed $1.35 million over the next three years, and they are trying to unload him.

"With Vince up there, I don't know whether or not they would want me," Theismann said after saying this: "I would sit and wait and see. There's no reason to rush. The Redskins and we have yet to sit down for a second negotiating session. Until we do, I'm really doing nothing."

With a small chuckle, Theismann added, "But it does lend to some very interesting thoughts."

One is that if Theismann and Allen hated each other here, why would they be buddies in Montreal? Anyone hanging around the Redskins in Allen's time, when he had an ambitious and restive Theismann riding the bench while Kilmer and Sonny Jurgensen played, knows the coach and quarterback were chilly business associates at best. At worst, Theismann was recalcitrant slave to Allen's domineering massah.

"That's not true," said Theismann, who, it hardly needs saying, stands to profit if George gets a bidding itch for Theismann.

Theismann can laugh about it now. "We just had a difference in philosophy. Mine was that I should be playing, and his was that I wasn't ready to play."

Things came to such a pass, Theismann said, that he once called Allen and begged to be traded.

"I told him, 'Coach, listen, I want to be traded,' and he said, 'Holy mackerel, I know you're unhappy, but I didn't know it was this bad.'

"I told him, 'Coach, I'm too young for you. Let me go somewhere. Let me play for somebody and then I can come back. Let me play somewhere until I'm 32, and then I'll be ready for you.' "

Theismann wasn't traded, as we know, but what you may not know about his little story is that Joe, last Sept. 9, became 32 years old.