The Washington Redskins' makeshift football team, which is to begin practicing today at Redskin Park, is expected to include cornerback and kick returner Rod Hill, the Dallas Cowboys' first-round draft choice in 1982, and former University of Tennessee quarterback Tony Robinson, both of whom have reached verbal agreements with the team, it was learned.
The Redskins have verbal agreements with about 55 players, some of whom were on the Washington roster during training camp this season or last year.
But the Redskins are by no means certain that all these players will join the team and ride the Redskins buses from the Dulles Marriott to Redskin Park, where the striking Redskins will be walking a picket line.
Over the weekend, General Manager Bobby Beathard thought he had agreements with two quarterbacks, John Witkowski and Stan Yagiello, but they have said they are signing with Houston and Dallas, respectively.
Hill, apparently the only first-round draft choice of the Redskins' new players, played for the Cowboys in 1982 and 1983 after being drafted out of Kentucky State. He holds the Cowboys' team record for longest kickoff return in a playoff game, 89 yards against Green Bay, in the 1982 playoffs.
In 1984, the Cowboys traded him to Buffalo. He was released by Buffalo last year and picked up by Detroit in October. The Lions kept him for a week, waived him, then brought him back late last season before cutting him again this year.
Robinson, once a promising collegiate quarterback at the University of Tennessee, pleaded no contest last November to charges of attempting to deliver cocaine and was sentenced to six years in prison, but was put on probation for all but 90 days. He had originally faced 22 felony charges that could have landed him in prison for life.
Robinson was the Vols starting quarterback in 1984 and for most of 1985, when he suffered a season-ending knee injury against the University of Alabama. He did not play at all last season after being arrested on drug charges in January of 1986. Robinson had a reputation as a good college passer who also was a good runner.
Twenty-four of the players were on previous Redskins training camp rosters: Quarterback Ed Rubbert; tight ends Todd Frain and Craig McEwen; offensive linemen Darrick Brilz, Mark Carlson and Eric Coyle; wide receivers Ted Wilson, Keiron Bigby, Leonard Harris, Derrick Shepard and Carl Williams; running backs Lionel Vital and Ricky Jemison; defensive backs Michael Mitchell, Danny Burmeister, Garry Kimble, David Etherly and Charles Jackson; defensive ends Steve Martin and Alec Gibson; defensive tackle Steve Thompson; linebackers Tony Settles and Stevan Nave, and punter Jack Weil.
Although they were eventually released, several of these players were particularly well-thought of by Redskins coaches, including McEwen, a free agent from Utah who played well this preseason; Frain, a free agent from Nebraska who played in two games for the Redskins last season; Vital, drafted by Washington in the seventh round of the 1985 draft from Nicholls State; Kimble, drafted by the Redskins in the 11th round of the '85 draft out of Sam Houston State, and Nave, a free agent out of Kansas.
Beathard said yesterday he was "excited" about putting together a new team.
"It's really not much different from what we do to get ready for minicamp and training camp," Beathard said. "It's exciting to see how it turns out."
Beathard refused to confirm most names of players who have reached verbal agreements, but did say Jack Stanley, a quarterback who played at least one season with Nevada-Reno, is expected today.
Other players who have reached tentative agreements include kickers Obed Ariri, formerly with Tampa Bay, Brendan Tobin of the University of Richmond, and Marco Morales of San Diego State; running backs Von Allen of Virginia State, Gerald Harris of Georgia Southern, Allen Harvin of Cincinnati, Walter Holman of West Virginia State and Tim Jessie of Auburn; offensive linemen David Jordan of Auburn, Willard Scissum of Alabama and Drew Smetana of Oregon; defensive linemen Dan Benish of Clemson, Joe Caravello of Tulane and Robert Scott of Tennessee; linebackers Derek Bunch, of Michigan State, Joe Cofer of Tennessee, Jon Kimmel of Colgate and Eric Wilson of Maryland; and defensive backs Dennis Woodberry of Southern Arkansas and Daryl Hart of Lane (Tenn.) College.
Former Redskins linebacker Shawn Burks visited Redskin Park yesterday to meet with Coach Joe Gibbs, Beathard said. Burks could not be reached for comment, but Beathard said Burks did not agree to join the Redskins.