It still doesn't have a coach, a player or even a name, but Washington's entry in the new United States Football League has a tentative agreement on a lease to play 10 Sunday afternoon games at RFK Stadium between next March and July.
Robert Sigholtz, general manager of the D.C. Armory/Starplex, said yesterday he has concluded negotiations with representatives of the Washington team for a stadium lease "that has the same basic terms as our lease with the Redskins."
The lease, which will run through 1990, must still be approved by the three-member D.C. Armory Board. Sigholtz said he has recommended its approval and does not anticipate a problem with the board, composed of Mayor Marion Barry, D.C. National Guard Gen. Calvin Franklin and Washington restaurateur Stuart Long. The board is expected to meet on the lease next week.
Sigholtz declined to give any specifics, other than to say "we felt it would be unconscionable to give them (the USFL team) a better lease than we give the Redskins. They'll pay the same as the Redskins."
The Redskins pay 12 percent of their gross ticket revenues in rent to the Armory Board, a sum believed to be in the $800,000 range during the regular season. They also have a provision in the lease that gives them exclusivity as the only pro football team to play at the stadium. But Sigholtz said because the teams play in different seasons, he did not consider that a problem.
Larry Lucchino, the Redskins attorney, said he would withhold any comment on the USFL lease "because we have no details on what they've got, so it would be hard for us to determine how it would affect the Redskins."
Berl Bernhard, the owner of the Washington USFL franchise, said yesterday he was delighted to be playing in RFK Stadium. He said he is hoping to name a general manager and a coach by the end of next week.
Jimmy Raye, Atlanta Falcon receivers coach, has been mentioned in published reports this week in Atlanta in connection with the coaching job. Raye, 35, a quarterback at Michigan State, is the only black assistant on the Falcons staff.
Bernhard confirmed that he had spoken to Raye, but said he has not been offered the coaching job. "That is untrue. He is one of a number of people we've been talking to," Bernhard said. Raye was not available to comment yesterday.
Former Redskins coach Jack Pardee and former Buffalo Bills coach Lou Saban have been mentioned by sources in the new league and the NFL, but both men said yesterday there has been no official contact from Bernhard or his representatives.
Vernon Dean, the Redskins' first draft choice (on the second round), agreed yesterday to a three-year contract. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
The Redskins and Dean had been trying to get the contract settled before midnight tonight, when the collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and the players union runs out and the union becomes the bargaining agent for unsigned rookies and free agents.
Redskins General Manager Bobby Beathard said he erred when he said defensive tackle Pat Ogrin was the only other player unsigned. Ogrin has signed. Receiver Alvin Garrett is the only player unsigned.