Lemar Parrish, former Washington Redskin all-pro cornerback, was in jail yesterday in Birmingham, Ala., after being arrested Friday night and charged with violation of the Alabama uniform controlled substances act. Police say Parrish was in possession of what they believe to be $2,100 worth of cocaine.

Parrish, who was cut in May by the Buffalo Bills and is out of football, was arrested along with Emery L. (Mike) Howard of Birmingham, and Jackie Brandy Alston, who had a driver's license with the same Palm Beach, Fla., address given to police by Parrish.

Parrish, 34, was still in Jefferson County jail late last night after being unable to post $5,000 bond. He last played for the Redskins in 1981 and was traded in April 1982 to Buffalo for a fifth-round draft choice. He played four years with the Redskins, making the Pro Bowl in 1979 and 1980.

According to police, Parrish told them he was unemployed but was trying to get a tryout with the Chicago Blitz of the USFL. Authorities said they found a plane ticket in Parrish's possession that had him returning to Florida Friday night.

Lt. Charles Newfield of the Birmingham police department reported the police received a tip Friday night that two people from Florida were processing cocaine at a Birmingham home owned by Howard, 39. Howard was convicted in federal court in 1978 for operating a prostitution ring and for bribing a policeman.

Police said they had had Howard under observation as part of a newly formed drug enforcement task force run by the Jefferson County district attorney. Police officers knocked on the door of the house on Mims Avenue in Birmingham, but got no response. They then forced open the door and found 11 adults and one child.

According to the officers, they found Parrish in an upstairs shower, in his underwear. They also found a small dish in a nearby toilet.

Police also found bags of a white substance they believe to be cocaine, equipment used to cut up and dilute cocaine, scales, and equipment used to prepare cocaine for "freebasing."

According to authorities, Parrish at first identified himself as "Lemar Henry." They said Alston, 32, also gave an address in Fairfield, Ala., a Birmingham suburb. She was jailed under $15,000 bond; Howard was jailed under $25,000 bond.

Police said the investigation was still continuing. According to police, Parrish faces a possible jail term of two to 15 years if convicted.

Parrish played 13 years in the NFL after being picked on the seventh round of the 1970 draft by Cincinnati. He was an eight-time Pro Bowl participant and was among the finest man-to-man coverage backs in the league, if not the best.

He intercepted 47 passes, including nine with Washington in 1979, his finest pro season. He tied the NFL record for most touchdowns on interceptions in a game (two) on Dec. 17, 1972. He also was coholder of the league record for most touchdowns on fumble recoveries in a career, three.

He was traded to Washington with Coy Bacon for a first-round pick in the 1979 draft. It was one of General Manager Bobby Beathard's first trades with the Redskins, and one of his most controversial.

Parrish was sent to Buffalo after an injury-plagued 1981 season. He was released by the Bills in early September, then resigned later in the month. He had one interception in seven games.