On a day when National Football League coaches continued with game plans while striking players thought about other things, Gene Klein said it without hesitation.
"The season is over," Klein, owner of the San Diego Chargers, said yesterday. "The players are out . . . Our (management) offer has gone as far as it can go. Right now, I have our whole coaching staff out scouting the colleges. We're preparing for 1983."
But others in NFL management still are thinking about 1982.
Kansas City Chiefs President Jack Steadman said his team is ready to sign 110 free agents to fill the void created by the striking players.
"There are thousands of players who would give their right arm to play in the National Football League," Steadman said..
"The caliber of the play wouldn't be as good, but everyone would be at the same level. We see this as a long strike, and it's our preference to continue business as usual. We're just awaiting word from the league about their plans."
Jack Donlan, executive director of the NFL Management Council, said in New York the league had not ruled out the possibility of playing with free agents and nonstriking veterans.
Tex Schramm, the Dallas Cowboys' president and general manager and a member of the NFL Competition Committee, said, "Personally, I don't believe the National Football League should put on any game that is not representative of the National Football League."
Klein said, "If we're talking about a team (made up) of a small percentage of regular players and a bunch of free agents, I absolutely wouldn't do it. We owe things to the fans. I won't send out a bunch of impostors and say they are the San Diego Chargers."
Meanwhile, Terry Stieve, the St. Louis Cardinals player representative, said the creation of such strike-breaking teams would mean "we'd picket the stadium and wherever they practice."
Kansas City quarterback Bill Kenney was a bit more explicit: "An average player in the NFL makes $6,000 a week; takes home maybe $4,000. The NFL owners are losing maybe a million dollars a week. I'm sure they won't stand for that. That's why I'm sure they'll try to put on a scab game. Maybe scab is not the word, but an amateur game."
Although Ed Garvey, executive director of the NFL Players Association, says he thinks management will give in because it is losing so much money, several of the players believe otherwise.
"Management is financially capable of sitting out the season," said James Lofton, Green Bay's player representative. When asked why the players hadn't waited a week so they could qualify for this year's pension, he said, "We've been without a contract for two months and management hasn't negotiated in good faith. Another week wasn't going to do any good."
Beasley Reece, the Giants' player representative, said none of his teammates were happy about the strike, but it was something they felt they had to do.
"This is a fight now," he said. "But we're used to fighting, to staying together. If we can get down to some real bargaining, maybe it won't last long. A 14-game season is not far from what it used to be when I came into the league. But if it goes any further than that it will be bad for the players."
While the players from the Giants and Packers said they would be staying together and working out, the New Orleans Saints will "scatter like quail" for a week before trying to set up practices, player representative Russell Erxleben said.
Several players aren't prepared to sit out a single practice. Lynn Swann, John Stallworth and Donnie Shell reported for work yesterday in Pittsburgh while their teammates held a meeting.
Meanwhile, the Turner Broadcasting Co. said an all-star league made up of striking National Football League players will begin play Oct. 10 and 11, with games broadcast on a new live television network as well as to 22 million cable television homes.
TBS said it would broadcast the full 18-game schedule involving six teams, one from each NFL division. Possible sites for the first two games were said to be Dallas, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. The NFL has threatened legal action to prevent such games.