The beginning of another football season always brings something new for quarterback Joe Theismann.

Two years ago, he was unhappy with his contract and said so.

Last year, he announced a radical change: he wasn't going to talk to the media, except after games.

And this year, he has arrived at the Washington Redskins' training camp talking once again, happier than ever -- as the fiance of TV personality Cathy Lee Crosby.

"She's accepted my offer of engagement. We just really haven't set a date yet," Theismann said today as he showed up at Dickinson College wearing a T-shirt advertising Crosby's new exercise video with the motto: "Get Hot with Cathy Lee."

He popped the question "a couple three months ago." He hasn't given her the ring yet, he said, beaming, but that's simply a formality.

"I'm still working on it . . . I'm waiting until I get enough money together (to buy) some big sucker."

But the quarterback has done more this offseason than make plans to take his second wife. He turned into a weight-room junkie, he says, bulking into the best shape of his professional life.

"(Strength coach) Dan Riley said, 'You give me six weeks in the offseason. You're going to see a noticeable difference in the way you feel if you just let me have you for a while,' and I have.

"I feel much stronger, I feel bigger, my arm feels as good as it's ever felt, and my back feels real good too, which has been an aching . . . nagging problem since 1974 . . . just one of those things everybody has."

Along with Theismann, running back George Rogers and all the receivers reported today. Two-time Pro Bowl selection Charlie Brown, who missed minicamp and threatened to leave the team if he didn't receive assurances of regaining his starting job, arrived -- but refused to talk to reporters.

Theismann didn't. He said he doesn't second-guess his decision to keep quiet during a tumultuous year of divorce, but that this season will be different.

"I made a decision and I stuck by it," he said, adding that he did not pay attention to media reports about his personal life.

"Now I feel like much of my life is private. I have more control over my own life," he said.

He began the new season by talking about all the things he didn't talk about in 1984 -- almost everything.

The Redskins at the crossroads: "I think last year was our transition year. Everyone talks about our old offensive line. Our old offensive linemen were puppies in 1982 . . . These guys are only 26-27 years old now. They still have a good three or four years left in them."

The Dallas Cowboys: "If I had to look around the league and pick one football team that I thought may be going through a transitionary period, it would be the Dallas Cowboys. Their defensive line, to the largest degree, is in the early 30s, Randy (White) and Ed (Jones) in particular. John Dutton is no spring chicken . . . Wide receivers, with Drew's (Pearson) retirement, Tony Hill being nagged with injuries . . . Tony Dorsett's got to be in his 30s, he's no spring chicken anymore. He's still as dynamic a back, but still, when you're 31, you're not like you were when you were 21. So if a team's going through a transitionary period, it may not be us, it may be somebody else."

Repeating great years: "I had an MVP year in '83, and the toughest year for myself was '84. You set such a standard. I promise you, (Miami's) Dan Marino will not have the year he had last year. He's in a system that works for him, but to throw that many touchdown passes, they're going to have to get down there (near the end zone) that same amount of time. You see this particular level that's been set for yourself and all of a sudden, you say, 'I can get there, I can get there.' You start to push and push and, when you start to push, you really put undue pressure on yourself and it hurts your performance."

Unsigned veteran defensive tackle Dave Butz: "Dave Butz, when he wants to play, is as great as anybody. David is a very quiet sort of guy; he's 6-5, 300 pounds of quiet people. Dave Butz can be like a Bob Lilly; he can totally dominate the game of football if he wants to. It's his to have. He's that great a force."

San Francisco's Joe Montana: "Joe is the consummate team player and, to me, he is the best quarterback in football today. For this particular era, I believe he's the best. I think he does everything that you have to do to be the best."

Where he ranks: "I feel I run stride for stride with (Montana)."

The offense he runs: "Clint Didier, Donny Warren, Rick Walker, Calvin Muhammad, Charlie Brown, Art Monk and John Riggins and George Rogers . . . that's my interpretation of a dream team. Then, with the guys up front . . . This is probably as explosive and dynamic a team as they've ever had here."

This season: "It's most important for us to keep our people healthy. We're not that deep in a lot of places, but if we can keep our people healthy, then I think we'll have a great year."

How long he'll play: "I haven't set a time limit. I'm just going to keep on going. They may have to kick me out. At 30, I was thinking, make it to 35. At 35, I'm just going to keep on playing, year in and year out . . . My main thing is, I just want to be consistent."

The contract extension through 1987 that he still has not signed: (On this, he won't comment. He and owner Jack Kent Cooke are "discussing" it, Cooke said.)

The Redskins' shotgun: "What people have to realize is we put in a whole shotgun offense in 10 days (for the playoff game against Chicago) . . . It gives us another weapon. I like working with it. Whatever is better for our football team . . . I really feel like having the ability to be able to do it can be as much of a threat as actually doing it."

General Manager Bobby Beathard: "Bobby Beathard continues to amaze me. I call him Monte Hall. He's the guy who walks around to different people saying, 'Let's Make a Deal.' And he keeps coming up with neat curtains. Instead of a trip to the Bahamas for a week, we wound up with Calvin Muhammad. Instead of a six-week cruise to Jamaica, we wound up with (center) Rick Donnalley. God only knows what he's got behind Curtain No. 3. The acquisition of George (Rogers), maybe that's Curtain No. 3 for Bobby. I hope he's got another stage to go to with a few more curtains."

Back to Cathy Lee: "I love her to death . . . she's a great football analyst. After a game, she'll sit down and say, 'Well, your elbow was a little bit down . . . ' It's fun. We sit in the car and talk about it. I can't tell you. It's great, it really is."