When the players union strike started eight weeks ago, Redskins guard Mark May was an outspoken supporter. But last night, he looked back at the long walkout and wondered if it was a wise decision.
"Looking back, the strike might have been ridiculous," May said. "I don't think the guys, and that includes me, realized that everyone was going to lose by striking.
"We were living in a fantasy land. I was foolish, I really didn't look at the facts the way I should have. I wanted a rainbow. But what I've lost monetarily, mentally and physically, I'll never get back. You hope to gain something by striking, but I don't know if I did. I just hope we never go through anything like this again."
Like May, most Redskins interviewed last night were weary of striking and glad to get back to work. Most also were anxious to examine the final collective bargaining agreement.
"You have to look at it and see if it was worth it," receiver Charlie Brown said. "We gained some things, I'm sure. But if we didn't gain enough, then we shouldn't have gone out."
Quarterback Joe Theismann: "I really don't give a damn what the agreement is. No one won, not the players, not the owners and especially not the fans. I just hope we can produce the same kind of product for them that we had before the strike.
"I'm very, very pleased to get back. I just want to play. Everyone is anxious and ready to go, so we'll be ready for Sunday. I might even call Joe Gibbs later tonight and see if we can start on the game plan."
Guard Russ Grimm: "Neither side finished ahead, but it hurt the fans. This agreement isn't going to make a ton of money for me. It will help the older players more. But I always hoped that it would be a building block for later contracts that will help me more."
Linebacker Neal Olkewicz: "I'm glad it's over. It's been a long time. I didn't expect it to go on this long and now I'm ready to play. And I'm definitely looking forward to getting a paycheck."
When the strike began, Redskins Coach Gibbs told his team that "the clubs who come out ahead when this strike ends will be ones who stick together." The Redskins, a pro-union team, remained unified during the strike, although there were more dissident voices near the end. But Grimm, the team's alternate player representative, believes there will be no lingering animosity now.
"A man has to say what he thinks," Grimm said. "Hopefully, no one will hold something against another player. The Redskin management was great during this, they didn't create any ill feelings and that will help, too."
Gibbs said: "I don't foresee any problems within the team because of the strike. I believe everyone will put that behind them and start playing again."
Some of his players showed up last night at Redskin Park to lift weights and talk to the coaches. Gibbs: "That has to make you happy. These guys want to play."
Safety Tony Peters hit golf balls yesterday to work off energy built up during the strike. Now, he can't wait to begin practicing.
"This is a definite relief. You get so frustrated by everything. I was so bored, I was going crazy. Now maybe everyone has seen the light. This could have been accomplished weeks ago."
Brown said: "I was shocked when I heard the news it was over. I couldn't speak. Everyone was on a roller coaster for so long with the good news and then the bad news. This time we all want it to be true. We were playing so well as a team, we had everything going for us. We've got to get that back right away, because we can make the playoffs."