The Washington Redskins say they have decided not to trade wide receiver Charlie Brown.
"We've ruled it out," General Manager Bobby Beathard said yesterday. "We plan to have Charlie back here in the same form he was in two years ago, all-pro form. I said earlier that we'd explore a trade to protect ourselves, but we've decided that's not what we want to do."
Brown, 26, missed the Redskins' recent minicamp after Coach Joe Gibbs wouldn't guarantee how much he'd play this season. He missed the equivalent of 10 games last season with an injured ankle, knee, fibula and hamstring, and caught 18 passes, down from 78, the team-high, in 1983. The Redskins acquired Calvin Muhammad in a mid-season trade with the Los Angeles Raiders and he caught 42 passes.
Beathard said that Craig Kelly, Brown's agent, told him during minicamp that, "Charlie would probably feel better if he didn't come back" to the Redskins.
So, why have the Redskins decided not to trade Brown? "In the first place, we don't want to trade him," Beathard said. "When the recent problem arose, to protect ourselves we called around. There was some interest but nobody would offer anything. We wanted what was fair, which would have been a player of Charlie's caliber."
Gibbs said he has talked with Brown three times since minicamp, most recently last Friday at Redskin Park, when Brown participated in a seven-on-seven passing drill.
"The gist of the meeting is that I think we have cleared the air," Gibbs said. "Charlie came back to talk to me two days before minicamp and he had some reservations about some things. I don't think he came out of there feeling as appreciated as he should have. I won't talk about the contents of that meeting. But to put it simply, we left there with two different views. Charlie had one and I had a different view. Maybe I didn't explain myself well enough."
Brown was unavailable to comment yesterday and Kelly said Brown is vacationing. Kelly said Beathard told him Monday that the team had decided not to trade Brown, but he has been unable to tell Brown.
"If that was the only problem and that has now been cleared, then the problem is over and this has all been settled," Kelly said. "Charlie's under contract (for two more seasons) and he knows it's up to him to report. But on the other hand, I haven't passed this latest information on to Charlie, so I don't know what he is thinking . . . I suppose if Charlie was really hacked off with the Redskins, he wouldn't have been competing in seven-on-sevens. So I guess that's a positive sign.
"This wasn't a crusade on our part," Kelly added. "If we made a statement, then the statement is over . . . Brown's effectively back with the team, as far as we're concerned.
"I never saw this as a big problem and we don't want to keep throwing logs on the fire. All Charlie wanted was for Gibbs to come out publicly and to say what Gibbs has now in fact said publicly, which was, 'You're my main man until somebody has beaten you out.' "
Asked which receiver the Redskins would start alongside all-pro Art Monk next season -- Brown or Muhammad -- Gibbs said yesterday: "We have three great receivers and they will each take two-thirds, two-thirds and two-thirds time (in training camp). I will decide who is going to start. Actually, competition will determine it."