With Super Bowl rings on their fingers and so many nuances tickling their funny bones, the Washington Redskins' veterans have all--except for holdout Jeris White--reported to training camp.
One day before these veterans start two-a-day practices and 43 days before they open the season Sept. 5 at RFK Stadium against their friends from Dallas, they had today to take stock of so many summertime shenanigans:
Dexter Manley, a third-year defensive end with a knack for originality, has shaved his head Mohawk-style, leaving one long, fuzzy strip running across his head like a long country road.
"We call him Mr. D," said cornerback Vernon Dean.
"Dexter wants people to notice him," says strong safety Tony Peters, "and that will do it."
"I told Dexter that he thought he was original, but (John) Riggins did it 10 years ago," said free safety Mark Murphy. "Dexter asked me, 'Why did Riggins do it?' I told him, 'Same reason you did.' And Dexter said, 'I don't know why I did it.' "
Currently displeased with his contract, Manley laughed typically long and hard. He said, "I did it to show people that I am poor . . . Actually, it makes my head feel cooler."
Nearly every veteran has some funky trait or characteristic. Murphy, the team's player representative, is known for his statesmanlike diplomacy. Because of his vocal participation in the NFL players' union during last year's strike, teammates now call Murphy "Lech."
Dave Butz, a defensive tackle of 11 years, is known for his seriousness. Seriousness, that is, and the white admiral's hat that he has brought to camp the past six years. Why is this particular hat so special to Butz?
"Because it's the only one that fits," said Butz, who is 6 feet 7, 295 pounds. "It's a size 7 7/8."
Riggins, a 12-year veteran and Super Bowl XVII's most valuable player, is known for being different. Riggins has told the Redskins' public relations department he will hold a press conference this week to answer any questions and then won't talk to the press until the Dallas game.
"Unless I have something that needs to be said," Riggins said today, smiling from underneath a straw hat and above a bowl of split-pea soup.
Russ Grimm and Joe Jacoby, two third-year Hogs of the offensive line, are roommates known for sticking together and having a good time. The two like to consider themselves as the Redskins' version of Hawkeye Pierce and B.J. Honeycutt.
Posted on their training camp door these days, for example, is a sign reading simply: "Gone fishing."
"Actually, we went golfing today," said Grimm, who claims to own a 12 handicap.
Grimm and Jacoby arrived in Carlisle a day before the veterans were due to report, checking in at the players' Dickinson College dormitory at 4 a.m. Friday.
"We tried to find a local hotel to stay in Friday morning," Grimm said. "But we couldn't find one. They all had 'No Vacancy' signs."
Jacoby, ever quiet and shy, confessed to being spotted on a Carlisle street at 2 o'clock Friday morning.
"It's not too hard to spot a 6-foot-7, 300-pound guy holding two pepperoni pizzas in his hand at that time of night," Jacoby said.
Quarterback Joe Theismann, a 10-year veteran, is known for his good-hearted showmanship. Theismann came to camp with a cut on his elbow, a result of a little accident from his appearance as Mack the tow-truck driver in "Cannonball Run II," which Theismann describes simply as a "madcap, bang-bang-bang-bang movie."
Furthermore, upon seeing John Travolta flexing his newly built stomach muscles on the cover of People magazine, in a story about Travolta's role in director Sylvester Stallone's movie, "Stayin' Alive," Theismann said, "I want to get stomach muscles like Travolta's. I've had some back problems and that might help. I'm going to have to give Sly a call. He's a friend of mine."
Mark May, another third-year Hog, said he has not yet fired a shot from the Weathersby 460 hunting rifle that Riggins awarded to each of the Hogs during the offseason. Riggins gave each Hog the Weathersby and one bullet, just to try it out.
Said May, "Riggo took us out to shoot them, out on a range in Manassas the night he gave them to us. (Retired lineman Ron) Saul ended up with a butterfly (bandage) on the bridge of his nose.
"He had put a scope on the rifle and the gun has such a powerful kickback it hit him right between the eyes. And Riggins had cuts all over his hands. The guns are powerful. You use them to shoot elephants or rhinos."
May said he is not planning to fire the gun soon.
"That's because I might shoot myself," he said. "And, at this point, I wouldn't have enough time to recover."
"We're all one year older," Lech Murphy theorized, looking across a horizon chock full of burgundy and gold shenanigans, with a statesman's glow. "One year older, and one year wiser."