Mark Moseley, who has agreed to a contract but still has not signed it, arrived at the Washington Redskins' training camp this afternoon kicking up quite a storm.
Although he said he doesn't "plan on getting into a verbal war" with Tony Zendejas, his supremely confident challenger for the team's place-kicking job, Moseley made sure to stay even with Zendejas in everything he does.
And, today at least, that included talking.
Moseley, at 37 the second-oldest kicker in the league, received a three-year contract worth $730,000 from the Redskins, but none of it is guaranteed, he said.
If Moseley doesn't make the team, he will get nothing, he said, adding that several incentive clauses in his contract "go with a trade."
Zendejas, meanwhile, has a three-year contract worth about $600,000, but also has a guaranteed signing bonus worth $150,000, he said; $100,000 now, $50,000 deferred.
"It's unfair," Moseley said. "It kind of makes the competition a little lopsided, don't you think? Any time someone gives that kind of (guaranteed) money to someone to take your job, it's like somebody put a contract on your life, a $150,000 contract on your life."
Moseley's attorneys asked for a signing bonus, but the Redskins wouldn't give Moseley one, sources said. Moseley's alternative was to hold out. But by doing so, he would have given Zendejas, 25, the proverbial leg up in what is expected to be the most intense battle of training camp.
"What choice did I have?" Moseley said. "Unless I wanted to give my job away, I had to take the Redskins' offer and report."
While Moseley considered the contract offer over the weekend, Zendejas arrived at camp early from his home in Chino, Calif. He kicked, then talked, then kicked some more.
"I've heard a lot about Moseley, Moseley, Moseley," he said this morning, "and I haven't ever seen him."
A day earlier, Zendejas said his goal was to be all-pro his first year. "I think I can pretty much dictate what happens by how I do," he said.
Moseley's rebuttal came this afternoon as he leaned on a team van, watching Zendejas' soccer-style practice kicks sail through the uprights. Moseley, the last of the straight-on kickers, practiced on his own today and is not allowed to join the team until he signs his contract, presumably by Tuesday.
"I've got a job. He's the one who doesn't have a job," Moseley said. "When the dust settles, we'll see who's left."
Although Zendejas defended his statements, saying he "is not trying to be cocky, but just trying to look realistically" at what he has done in two seasons in the U.S. Football League, Moseley wondered.
"You won't need me to say anything," he said. "He'll do all the talking for both of us. I'm just going to keep my mouth shut and do my talking on the field."
Moseley, the National Football League's most valuable player in 1982 when the Redskins won the Super Bowl, said it's "kind of embarrassing" for him to have to come to camp this season and endure the "heckling" of teammates over the Moseley-Zendejas match.
"But no one says life is fair," Moseley said.
Moseley, who said he is in the best shape he has been in in the last 10 years, thinks the Redskins will trade one of the kickers relatively early in the exhibition season.
"They're not going to play around with us for a long time and destroy the trade option," he said. "I feel confident enough of my ability that I think it will end pretty fast."
Moseley finally met Zendejas before they jogged around the practice field together with the two punters.
"We just said 'Hi,' " Zendejas said later. "We'll keep it at that."
Moseley shook hands with Zendejas despite a bandaged right little finger, broken when he hit a weight machine in the Redskin Park weight room about three weeks ago. He was being teased about Zendejas when he jumped up and said, "Tony Zendejas -- I'm ready, boy," according to assistant head coach-offense Joe Bugel, who was there at the time.
Zendejas smiled when he was asked what he thought of the incident.
"To me, whatever he does, he has to beat me on the field," Zendejas said.
The battle of the feet officially begins Wednesday when special-teams coach Wayne Sevier starts to chart their kicks. Obviously, the war of words already has begun.
Wide receiver Charlie Brown suffered a strained right hamstring this afternoon when he dove to try to reach a long pass. He missed the rest of practice and will be examined further tonight or Tuesday, head trainer Bubba Tyer said. "It doesn't appear to be serious," Tyer said. Brown likely will miss several days of practice . . . Unsigned defensive tackle Dave Butz will have a negotiating session with team owner Jack Kent Cooke Wednesday in Middleburg, Va. . . . Offensive guard Bruce Kimball suffered a possible back injury at practice this morning and missed afternoon workouts, Tyer said. He is to undergo tests Tuesday. Kimball recently was thrown from his motorcycle in an accident in Massachusetts and suffered 37 stitches near his right eye, Bugel said . . . Veteran wide receiver-cornerback Ricky Smith was among 12 players waived today by the Redskins. Smith, acquired in a trade with the New England Patriots last fall to bolster the defensive secondary, was moved to wide receiver in the Redskins' May minicamp. Others released were running back Gene Lake, wide receiver Brian Allen, center Bill Legg, safety Rod Falter, linebackers Marv Allen, Louis Haynes and Bob Knapton, defensive tackles Jim Auer and Tom Viane, and offensive tackles Floyd Layher and Ron Peterson . . . The Redskins now have 96 players on the roster. By Sept. 2, it must be cut to 45 . . . The Redskins signed free agent Darryl Ursery, a 6-4, 275-pound offensive tackle from the University of Hawaii who was recently waived by Dallas.