Defensive end Dexter Manley became the first Washington Redskin to publicly question the NFL players' strike yesterday when he said he planned to "make a decision Monday" about crossing the players' picket line.

According to a Redskins spokesman, Manley said on WWDC-FM that financial concerns would be one of the reasons he might return to the Redskins. Manley said he planned to consult with his wife, Glinda, and his attorney, Bob Woolf, before making a decision.

In an interview on WTTG-5 last night, Manley said:

"I'll talk to my attorney. If that's the best thing for me then that's what I'm going to do. We've got three big games coming up and, if they decide to count those games, then by not playing I would be putting my family in jeopardy, and I'd be cheating Redskins fans."

Manley could not be reached for comment yesterday, but Woolf said he spoke with his client and it's "a day-to-day decision for him."

"Dexter is supportive of the union, and he's monitoring the situation," Woolf said. "He'll take each day as it comes."

Player representative Neal Olkewicz said he spoke with Manley at a team meeting Sunday night. "He was ready to sit out the season then," Olkewicz said. "I haven't spoken with him since then, but if he's consulting people, I hope he would consult with me first."

Olkewicz said if Manley were to cross the picket line, it "wouldn't help" the morale of the rest of the striking players.

"If you're asking if it would force the rest of the team to go in, the answer would be 'no,' " he said. "But if you're asking if it would affect his standing within the team, it would be 'yes.' "

However, guard R.C. Thielemann said Manley's comments did not surprise him. "Dexter's always been Dexter," he said. "If he crosses, it wouldn't surprise me in the least. We still would be solid. It doesn't make any difference with our team unity."

Coach Joe Gibbs said he would not comment on Manley's statements.

"I'm going to try and stay out of it," Gibbs said. "Whenever they come in, I'll be here waiting for them."

General Manager Bobby Beathard said yesterday he has spoken "to a couple guys" since the strike began and "a couple of them think they were nuts to strike.

"But there's no sign I've heard of any of our players coming in," Beathard said. "I think because we're so close to the union's headquarters {in Washington}, it's a little different situation than the other teams. I think the players will look back at this one day and say it was really a stupid thing to do."

Asked to comment on Beathard's statements, Olkewicz said, "I have no comment other than Bobby Beathard is management."

Up until yesterday, the striking Redskins had presented a solid front, although several players privately said that was due to team unity, not union militancy.

Yesterday, 10 more players around the NFL joined the 39 players who had already crossed their teams' picket lines. Olkewicz said "it's always possible" more players, including Redskins, will cross picket lines. "But, so far, I don't think it affects us. If it continues and more guys cross, it could, but it hasn't so far."

At least one player, Dallas running back Tony Dorsett, returned because he was concerned about losing annuities in his contract. No Redskins player has an annuity, said executive vice president John Kent Cooke.

Olkewicz said the next Redskins team meeting is scheduled for Saturday night. "We don't have any break in the ranks at this moment. The longer the strike goes, the more the chances increase. But nobody has called me and said anything about wanting to go in," he said.

Only three striking players were on hand when the bus full of nonunion players arrived at Redskin Park this morning, and none were around when the bus left last night. Several players appeared at RFK Stadium yesterday to sign autographs for season-ticket holders who were seeking refunds, while others, including Olkewicz, met with city officials.

Olkewicz said the players do not have plans to picket today or Saturday at Redskin Park, preferring to prepare for their "family day" in front of RFK Sunday, when the nonunion Redskins play St. Louis at 1 p.m.

At least four Cardinals have crossed the picket line: strong safety Leonard Smith, wide receiver Roy Green, defensive end Curtis Greer and special teams player Broderick Sargent. Green (hamstring) and Greer (knee) are listed as questionable for the game. Their presence is not good news for the Redskins in this game.

"Roy Green presents such a problem for you with your regular team, you imagine what he can do to your replacement team," Beathard said. "I heard that {quarterback Neil} Lomax was thinking about coming in. I hope that doesn't happen. If Green plays, I guess we'll just have to try to do everything we can to disrupt their passing game up front. Our regular guys have a hard time covering him. It's a difficult situation."

It's a guessing game right now in the offices of general managers around the league.

"It's difficult to say how good anyone is," Beathard said. "I've been reading about how good the Cowboys are, but I'd be afraid to say myself. I don't know what the teams we will play against are like. You really just have to wait and see."

Redskins Notes:

Three more wide receivers signed with the Redskins and practiced yesterday: Joe Phillips, who was with the Redskins during the 1985 season and 1986 training camp; Ted Wilson, the team's 10th-round draft choice who left after the first day of practice last week, and Anthony Allen, a sixth-round choice of Atlanta in 1983 . . . Gibbs said Ed Rubbert will start at quarterback, but Tony Robinson is expected to play. Washington Post staff writer Leonard Shapiro contributed to this report.