Quarterbacks -- two slightly injured, one with a new job -- can't seem to stop making news for the Washington Redskins.
Jay Schroeder dislocated his left ring finger as he took a snap from center in the morning practice. X-rays were negative, and he played in the afternoon practice with the finger, swollen and bruised, taped to his little finger.
Babe Laufenberg, Schroeder's backup, missed both practices with a hyperextended right elbow. He doesn't know when he will be able to throw again; the coaches hope it's only a few more days. In the meantime, he is shaking hands with his left hand.
Joe Theismann, who was waived by the Redskins Friday, officially found employment today when CBS-TV announced he would join play-by-play announcer Jack Buck as an analyst this fall. His first game will be Sept. 7, but where he will be is unknown. (His former teammates will be at RFK Stadium, playing Philadelphia.)
Theismann is expected to earn $185,000 this year, according to sources familiar with his network contract. He would have made about $1.2 million if he had been on the Redskins' roster all season.
Theismann broke his right leg in a game last fall and failed to pass his Redskins physical. His medical bills will be paid by the National Football League for a year. He will hold a telephone conference call Tuesday morning to discuss his release and his new job.
So, on the fourth day of the Redskins' post-Theismann era, in the last hour of the first veterans' practice, the only quarterbacks available to practice were Mark Rypien (pronounced Rip-pen) and Stan Yagiello, both rookies.
Schroeder said it took trainers five minutes to "pop" his finger into place.
"The top knuckle was underneath the bottom knuckle," he said. "My finger ended up across the little finger at a 45-degree angle . It didn't look real good, but right now, it's just sore and fat."
Laufenberg, who was injured when a defender hit his arm as he threw a pass in Saturday's scrimmage with New England, was watching practice impatiently, with his uniform and pads on and his helmet in hand. "We're unlucky right now," he said.
Schroeder, who has dislocated fingers before, said he probably would heal in three or four days. "But I can't afford to take three to four days off," he said.
He participated in the two-hour afternoon drills but with even more attention paid to him than normal. He took snaps only from veteran center Jeff Bostic.
"That's easier for him," said quarterbacks coach Jerry Rhome. "You've got to be careful. It's sore."
Schroeder said his throwing hand is fine.
"I'll be okay," he said. "It'll be a few days until the soreness goes out, that's all. The mobility is in it."
Laufenberg wasn't as fortunate. This is supposed to be the time he gets the most work in practice, if the coaches are to make sure he is the man they want as their backup quarterback. In his three previous seasons with the Redskins, he has played only in preseason games.
"This sets Babe back a little," Rhome said. "He gets taken away from work. I know it's just killing him. You want to be out there practicing, and you can't."
Laufenberg shrugged as he came off the field. "I told Stan Yagiello that he can be the first guy to go from a free agent to starting quarterback in two days," Laufenberg said.
The injuries weren't confined to the quarterbacks today at Dickinson College's torrid Biddle Field. Everywhere Coach Joe Gibbs looked, he could find needling problems.
"It's our first day with everybody here," he said, "and we don't have everybody here."
The offensive line, which has come apart with injuries the last two seasons, started 1986 practice with all kinds of troubles. Guards Russ Grimm and Ken Huff missed practice: Grimm with torn tissue on the bottom of his left foot that will keep him out for a week; Huff at home to attend to family matters.
Guard R.C. Thielemann, who underwent knee surgery last year, passed his physical and was in uniform but worked mainly with defensive tackle Darryl Grant, also returning from knee surgery, in one-on-one drills.
All was not bleak for the Hogs, however. Gibbs beamed when he reported that tackle Joe Jacoby had come in at "a svelte 305."
Three others missed practice: defensive end Charles Mann (arthroscopic knee surgery in June); tight end Clint Didier (strained right hamstring); and cornerback Darrell Green (awaiting his wife to give birth). Wide receiver Calvin Muhammad played with bruised ribs.
"We're kind of nicked right now," said Gibbs, who sounded in midseason form.
The two oldest Redskins arrived in camp with 23 years of Washington experience between them -- and no injuries, at least at the moment.
Kicker Mark Moseley brought out a rocking chair, and defensive tackle Dave Butz revealed his same fiesty personality when they talked to reporters today.
They have shared Room 228 of Adams Hall since 1975. They are back again, but with even fewer of their old buddies surrounding them.
"It's very lonesome up here," Moseley said in the rocking chair with his name engraved in it. "I figured out, if you put it all together, I've been up here in Carlisle for a year and something. . . . I guess we're the lone survivors now."
Moseley and Butz have heavy competition to keep their jobs for another season.
"It really doesn't bother me to have four kickers trying to take his job , as long as they don't get in my way," Moseley said. "For a kicker, camp is boring anyway, so I guess this constant competition keeps me going."
Butz bristled at the notion he might have trouble winning his job this summer.
"Everyone's job is on the line," he said. "No one plays football forever or lives forever."