Cornerback Tory Nixon, the Washington Redskins' top choice in the 1985 National Football League draft, has not signed a contract and is not expected to report when the team opens training camp in Carlisle, Pa., today.
But the agent for free safety Raphel Cherry, the Redskins' next draft pick, who was taken in the fifth round, said last night that Cherry has agreed to a three-year contract with the Redskins and will drive from Washington, where he has been working out, to Carlisle today.
The remaining 10 draft picks either have signed or agreed to sign contracts, the Redskins announced.
The status of veteran defensive end Tony McGee, however, is unclear. McGee's name did not appear on the team's 116-player training camp roster, yet there was no official word from the Redskins explaining the omission.
McGee, 36, who missed the May minicamp after undergoing surgery on his left knee, said the knee still bothers him.
"I'm not reporting to camp yet," he said yesterday. "I'm still in the process of rehabilitation. The knee is good sometimes and bad sometimes. I have not taken my physical yet."
He said he expects a decision to be made in August on whether he will return for a fourth season with the Redskins.
"They've given me ample time to get my knee right," McGee said.
General Manager Bobby Beathard said he could not comment on McGee's status, and Coach Joe Gibbs was not available to talk about the issue.
As for Nixon, Beathard said yesterday afternoon that he "would find it hard to believe" talks with Larry Muno, Nixon's agent in Los Angeles, would end in an agreement by noon today, when all rookies and some veterans are required to report to camp.
Nixon, a second-round selection who was the 33rd player taken in the April 30 draft, was in San Diego yesterday, according to Muno's office, and unavailable for comment.
"Unless he's on the red-eye special, he won't be at camp by noon," Beathard said.
Beathard was concerned about negotiations with Raoul Lee, Cherry's Oakland-based agent, but Lee said he wanted Cherry, a quarterback at the University of Hawaii, in camp in time "for a fresh start."
"We're going to be playing him at a position he has not been playing, so he could use all the work," Beathard said.
Beathard said Muno may wait until all or most of the second-round draft picks have signed before he agrees to a contract for Nixon.
"I've talked to others around the league, and they are of the opinion that he (Nixon) might be a 'wait out.' That's what Muno does," Beathard said.
Both sides said no official offer has been made by the Redskins to Nixon.
"I think saying they've talked about ideas would be a better word than saying they have talked about numbers," said Rich Brinkman, an associate of Muno's.
But all indications are the Redskins are talking about an offer that would make Nixon neither the highest- nor lowest-paid player drafted in the second round.
"There comes a point we can only do so much," Beathard said. "It comes down to a situation where they decide to sit on it for a while and they realize later we were talking about pretty darn good numbers."
If Nixon does hold out, he would be the Redskins' second consecutive top draft pick to miss the beginning of camp because of contract problems. Last season, defensive tackle Bob Slater, also drafted in the second round, was a no-show. Offensive tackle Mark May, a first-round choice in 1981, also was a holdout.
In another matter, Beathard said he and Gibbs met yesterday with Craig Kelly, wide receiver Charlie Brown's agent, to "clear the air" concerning Brown's dispute with the team last May. A two-time all-pro, Brown skipped minicamp and threatened to leave the team if he was not given assurances about regaining his starting spot.
"We had a great discussion and everything's fine," Beathard said. "Charlie's ready to play football."
Beathard said they did not discuss Brown's contract in the meeting.