CARLISLE, PA., JULY 29 -- In his new book, former Washington Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann writes that he often went to football practice hung over and that he lost $10,000 playing cards during a single training camp and $35,000 gambling in one season.

Redskins Coach Joe Gibbs said today he was "shocked" to learn of those disclosures, which appear in the soon-to-be-published book "Theismann," written with Atlanta Constitution sports columnist Dave Kindred and excerpted in the August issue of The Washingtonian magazine.

Theismann writes that Gibbs asked him to become the team's No. 2 quarterback or to retire after the 1985 season "so {Gibbs} wouldn't have to make the decision to cut me." He also said there "may" be drug use involving "three or four players" on every team in the National Football League.

Told about the remarks today at the team's Dickinson College training camp, Gibbs said he did not want to issue a "rebuttal" to the book, but did want to discuss those comments "that are important to our program."

In The Washingtonian magazine excerpt, which covers a variety of topics, Theismann writes about the drinking and gambling. He refers to a group of players known as the "Five O'Clock Club" that convened after practice in an equipment shed at Redskin Park: "Some guys would stop by for one beer on the way home. Others would go in and come out a lot worse."

Theismann writes that Gibbs tried to stop the postpractice drinking in 1986 (after the Redskins didn't make the playoffs in 1985): "As long as you're winning, you can get away with almost anything. But as soon as you start losing, the first thing coaches do is clamp down on the players."

Theismann, who played for the Redskins from 1974 until he broke his leg in a November 1985 game, says he was part of this group and "often" would go to practice "hung over," and "wonder why I did it to myself. My teeth hurt. Every little noise hurt my head. I cut out that nonsense because I couldn't survive."

Gibbs responded with surprise. "I never saw Joe Theismann where I didn't think he was {giving} 100 percent on the practice field," he said. "I thought Joe Theismann was one of the best practice players I ever saw. I didn't know that Joe drank, I swear I didn't, other than to have a beer or something. That's news to me. I'm shocked because I never thought Joe really drank.

"Never once did I see him where he was hampered in any way, much less drinking. I don't know that his drinking was common knowledge to any of us. I knew we had other guys who would drink off the field. But I never saw Joe or anybody else impaired at practice. Ever. I would have sent them off the field immediately if I had. That would have been a serious thing to me."

Offensive tackle Mark May, one of Theismann's closest friends on the team, said, "In the five years I have known him, I can count on both hands the times I saw him drink a beer. Usually he would order orange juice or decaffeinated coffee. I once took a six-pack to his house and drank a beer before I left. I came back two weeks later and five cans of beer were still in his refrigerator."

As for the Five O'Clock Club, Gibbs said, "It stopped a while back because I felt like it was getting out of hand."

Theismann writes that alcohol abuse is just as much of a problem in the National Football League as cocaine. "We used to have a defensive lineman who'd sleep through team meetings, he was so drunk."

Gibbs said he did not know who the player was and said he believed that occurred before he became head coach in 1981.

Theismann writes that he thought former Redskins running back John Riggins was a "helluva guy" when he wasn't drinking. "But when he got to drinking, you just didn't know what he was going to do. John drank. I gambled. And we both overdid it."

Riggins could not be reached for comment.

Of drug use in the NFL, Theismann writes that "with the money available today, every team may have three or four coke users." Theismann did not single out alleged users.

Gibbs said he doesn't believe there are any Redskins who use cocaine. "We don't have three or four guys using cocaine," he said. "I've never felt that. If I did, I'd do something to correct it. If one guy had a problem, we'd do something about it."

Theismann, who was waived last summer as a result of the leg injury, writes that he lost as much as $10,000 in one six-week period of training camp and describes team airplane trips during the season as a "Casino in the Sky."

Gibbs said he knew card games were going on in the back of the team plane, but he said he thought it was "penny-ante stuff" and didn't know of Theismann's involvement.

"I knew the guys were playing on the plane," Gibbs said. "Once I heard about some money being lost and I clamped down. But if there was serious gambling going on, I would have stopped it. I never knew that there were guys who were gambling for a lot of money on our team."

Theismann, who says he no longer gambles, writes that former coach George Allen "cut out" the card games, but by the time Gibbs arrived in 1981, they were in full swing again. Gibbs, writes Theismann, cut the games out when the team began to lose more often after the highly successful 1982 and 1983 seasons, proving, he says, that coaches look the other way when their team is winning.

Theismann writes that in January 1986, at Gibbs' request, he went to Redskin Park for a meeting with Gibbs. Theismann says Gibbs asked him if he would be satisfied being the backup quarterback, or would he rather retire. Theismann writes that he blew up, noting, Gibbs "couldn't bring himself to say the hard stuff he wanted to say. It was as if he wanted me to take the burden off him. He wanted me to retire so he wouldn't have to make a decision to cut me."

Theismann wouldn't give in: "No, I couldn't be satisfied being No. 2. I also wasn't willing to retire."

Gibbs, who like many Redskins officials was concerned that Theismann's injury was too severe for him ever to play again, said the meeting was "intended as a good talk between two friends about their futures. We had been through a lot," Gibbs said. "It was a traumatic time for Joe and me. I told him the things that I felt and I think he told me the things that he felt. I do not remember it coming out any other way. Whatever he remembers, he remembers. That's what I remember."