Tampa Bay quarterback Doug Williams and Redskin linebacker Brad Dusek, among others, were hitting golf balls rather than opposing receivers or running backs yesterday at Indian Spring Country Club.
They were among a large contingent of current and former professional football players participating in the 12th annual Lombardi Golf and Tennis Tournament. And along with discussion of pitching and putting, there also was talk about the possibility of a strike in the National Football League this season.
"I just hope we get to play," said Williams. "All that I've heard is that it's moving slowly."
"Nothing is happening in the meetings," said former Redskin safety Brig Owens, now a member of the NFL Players Association negotiating committee. "We want to avoid what happened in baseball, and settle this thing with a little give and take. But right now we're the ones doing all the giving."
Two former all-pros said the players' demand of 55 percent of the gross might have to give a little.
"I don't think they can get 55 percent," said former Redskin quarterback Sonny Jurgensen. "They're not going to be able to back the owners into a corner. Hopefully, somebody will back down. A strike won't accomplish anything."
"As you know, I'm not a union man," said former Baltimore Colt linebacker Mike Curtis. "I think the whole thing has been blown way out of proportion so far. The press has attributed some extreme comments on each side.
"The big issue is the 55 percent, but that is just a radical amount to ask for. If they can get some sensible guys in there, then there won't be a strike. Right now, to me anyway, it's just all show biz."
Although he said a strike could only have "adverse effects on the game," retired Green Bay Packer defensive back Willie Wood said he believes the players deserve everything they're asking for.
"Of the three major sports, basketball, baseball and football, the football salaries are completely out of line," said Wood. "If a guy in another sport with the same talent as me was making twice as much, I'd certainly want to remedy that. A strike just happens to be the only leverage which the players have to correct whatever wrongs there are."
While former Miami Dolphin linebacker-turned-player-agent Nick Buoniconti also wants to see the players get more money, he does not feel they can "pull it off.
"Ed Garvey (executive director of the union) has never been able to get the wholehearted support they will need here. I think if you took a vote right now among the players, it would only be 50-50 for a strike. Most of the players are not wealthy, and need those paychecks coming in."
Owens said the owners are not bargaining "in good faith." A prime example, he said, being a newsletter sent to players telling them how they can quit the union. "When you bargain in good faith, you do not try to bust up the union," Owens said.
Three foursomes shared the honors in the best-ball competition with 59s. The winners, by way of most birdies, were Dick Schultz, Mark McConaghy, Dan Caughlin and Jim Sparling. Second was the quartet of George Massaua, Dan Cornella, John Dowling and Andy Paradiso.
In the doubles tennis competition, Dan Gurken and Jack Affrick scored a 7-5 triumph over Jim Benton and Doug Jette in the final.