It was hardly a crisis, but it was a little confusing.
The Washington Redskins began their weeklong minicamp at Redskin Park with rookies and free agents working out yesterday, and first-round draft choice Darrell Green, the cornerback/kick returner from Texas A&I, was not there.
Green's absence was not related to the fact he is still unsigned.
The answer was much simpler, though no less dismaying to Redskins management:
"He's still taking a final (exam) at school," said General Manager Bobby Beathard, who said the Redskins did not find out Green would be late to minicamp until yesterday.
"Bobby talked to (Green's) agent this week. It was our understanding everything was all set and he'd be here," said Coach Joe Gibbs. "It's very unfortunate . . . We mailed all the information about the minicamp to him, but he didn't get it for some reason.
Beathard added, "It would have been better if he could have been here from the start. But sometimes these things happen. When it happens to the first-round draft choice, though, it becomes a little more noticeable."
There was further confusion as to when Green would join the 43 players already at this minicamp. Early yesterday, the Redskins were told Green would fly to Washington last night. Then Green's agent told a reporter it would be tonight. Oblivious to it all, Green flew in last night anyway.
"Can you believe this?" Beathard said, with a grin that showed the Dallas game was still 17 Mondays away.
"We didn't know about this until this (past) weekend," said Carver Henry, Green's agent. "It's unfortunate Darrell couldn't complete his finals first. But his education has got to come first."
Henry recently told Beathard he wanted to wait until after the minicamp to discuss his client's contract, in hopes Green's performance would enhance his value.
"So far we haven't had any official talks," Henry said. "I'm going to send (the Redskins) a written proposal soon . . . I think the Redskins are a fair organization that pays an athlete a decent salary."
After yesterday's workout, Gibbs said the time, however short, lost by Green has "got to hurt him."
Green's importance to the Redskins could be increased by the recent retirement of veteran Joe Lavender and with veteran Jeris White unsigned and expected not to report to this minicamp without a contract.
Last season, White's base salary was $185,000, surpassed on the Redskins only by the salaries of running back John Riggins ($330,000), quarterback Joe Theismann ($300,000) and running back Joe Washington ($225,000). The average salary for an NFL defensive back last year was $78,552.
Asked about the status of negotiations with White, whose agent is Howard Slusher, Beathard said, "Right now, we're not sure what he wants."
Meanwhile, the dotted line took precedence over the offensive or defensive lines yesterday as the Redskins announced the signing of six players, including free safety Mark Murphy and defensive tackle Darryl Grant--both of whom signed three one-year contracts--and offensive tackle Joe Jacoby, who signed four one-year contracts.
The Redskins also signed Charles Mann, defensive end drafted in the third round from Nevada-Reno; Todd Hallstrom, offensive tackle drafted in the eighth round from Minnesota, and Marcus Gilbert, the running back drafted in the ninth round from Texas Christian.
There are seven veterans besides White who are unsigned: offensive guard Fred Dean, running back Wilbur Jackson, linebacker Pete Cronan, defensive tackle Pat Ogrin, running back Clarence Williams, running back Otis Wonsley and quarterback Tom Owen.
Veterans are scheduled to report for physicals Wednesday afternoon and will begin three days of workouts Thursday. Yesterday's workout was optional for them, but several showed anyway, including quarterback Bob Holly, tight end Clint Didier, running back Nick Giaquinto, wide receiver Cris Crissy and Wonsley . . . The only other absentee yesterday was Nathan Newton, rookie offensive guard from Florida A&M whose flight plans were mixed up.