No more than a minute after Coach Joe Gibbs pulled into his parking spot at Dickinson College this afternoon and stepped out of his car for his sixth Washington Redskins season, a steady rain began to fall on his training camp.
An omen? "Probably," he said, smiling.
By the time Gibbs returned from a short stop in his room in the team dormitory, the weather was the least of his worries.
Gibbs found several problems awaiting his arrival: a player arrested over the weekend in an incident at an Indianapolis nightclub; the drug-testing issue (again), and contract holdouts by the team's top two draft choices.
Gibbs said free agent wide receiver Duane Gunn, who was arrested in Indianapolis early Saturday morning and charged with resisting arrest and disorderly conduct, offered to take a drug test "right now" to prove he was not using drugs at the time of his arrest.
Gibbs, who said he never has given his players a drug test, is in favor of random drug testing but said he "wouldn't say right now" if he would test his players in training camp.
Teams have permission to test players for drug use in training camp this year while the rest of Commissioner Pete Rozelle's random drug testing plan remains on hold pending a ruling in arbitration.
The Gunn incident is likely to hasten Gibbs' decision. Gibbs said he believed strongly in a "tougher and more comprehensive drug policy" for the National Football League, including random testing and "strict punishment."
"Let the players know if they get involved in drugs , they'll get caught," he has said on several occasions. "There are lives involved."
On the other hand, Gibbs has said many times how much he trusts his players, which explains his reticence toward drug testing, at least until now.
According to the Indianapolis police report, Gunn appeared "to be under the influence of some type of stimulant" when he refused to leave the Don't Ask, Inc., nightclub. After being removed by a bouncer, he shoved the bouncer's head into a glass door, the report said.
Gunn left the scene, but then returned, refused to wear handcuffs and, after a three- to four-minute struggle, finally was arrested.
Immediately upon his arrival, Gibbs summoned Gunn, who went to Indiana University and then played for the Los Angeles Express of the U.S. Football League.
"He said he felt he was in the wrong about all those things except for the part about the substance," Gibbs said. "He said there was no . . . substance involved and sat in my office and said he would take a test right now."
Gibbs said he has not made a decision on what he will do.
Gunn's arraignment is scheduled for 9 a.m. Monday in Indianapolis Municipal Court, but he apparently will be on the football field, not in the courtroom, at that time.
"He said his attorney said he doesn't have to be there," Gibbs said.
Meanwhile, defensive lineman Markus Koch and wide receiver Walter Murray, two players who are likely to have a much greater impact on the Redskins' future than Gunn will, are not expected to sign contracts in time to practice Monday.
"It's funny, I've called around the league, and it seems everyone is waiting for someone else to sign," said General Manager Bobby Beathard.
Koch and Murray were selected in the second round of the 1986 NFL draft, 15 players apart. All other nine Redskins draft choices have signed.
The Redskins thought Koch was nearing an agreement, but apparently the two sides are not close enough. Gibbs said he understood Koch, a Canadian citizen who had visa problems last week, was "getting in the country last Friday."
But, he added: "I can't say that for sure."
Murray is a greater concern than Koch right now. Gibbs and Beathard both said Murray would be hurt more by a holdout than Koch will.
Of the 79 players in camp today, 15 are veterans. Of the veterans, most are involved in the passing game: quarterbacks Jay Schroeder and Babe Laufenberg and wide receiver Art Monk, who has started the last two Pro Bowls, are here. And Murray is not.
"Receivers have got just so much to do," Gibbs said. "That's why we bring them in early. There is more to the passing game. That's an area we spend more time on."
Especially this summer. Gibbs was not pleased with the passing game overall last season, and said so. It has become a top priority here.
"It's an area we did not do well in last year," he said, although he has said he couldn't find much to complain about in the final six games, when Schroeder started and the Redskins had a 5-1 record.
Last year, top draft choice Tory Nixon held out for more than two weeks and later was traded when he never caught up with the other defensive backs.
"Any time you hold out, it hurts you and the team," Gibbs said, echoing last summer's Nixon refrain. "Hopefully, these will not be long."
Clint Didier, the Redskins' leading receiver at tight end in 1985 with 41 catches, signed a new contract tonight, according to Beathard. Terms were not disclosed. Didier made a base salary of $140,000 last season . . . One free agent mysteriously was AWOL as of this evening: guard Steve Reese of Clemson. The Redskins had not heard from him, but were hoping he would arrive in time to practice Monday.