The striking Washington Redskins, who Sunday voted overwhelmingly to return to work if the NFL owners agreed to certain conditions, including arbitration, said last night they want to practice Wednesday if the owners agree to the NFL Players Association's proposal to end the 22-day walkout.

"I don't even want to think they'll say no," said running back Keith Griffin, an assistant player representative for the Redskins. "We wanted something to happen. Now, it's happened. We're showing that the players want to be out there playing."

Last night, NFLPA Executive Director Gene Upshaw announced that striking players would return to work if the owners agreed in writing to submit the contested issues of the negotiations to mediation and arbitration while also guaranteeing the contracts of player representatives through this season.

The union now will await the owners' response. If the owners do not agree to the union proposal, Griffin said he believed the Redskins would remain unified and on strike. Player representative Neal Olkewicz was in Chicago for the union meeting and was unavailable for comment.

For the Redskins, Upshaw's announcement represented confirmation that the league's 27 other striking teams agreed something must be done to end the strike.

"That's what we wanted {movement from the union}," said center Russ Grimm. "That's what we voted on. The union had to move. You can't move much further than that, as a union. If the owners turn this down, this could get ugly."

Before the announcement, Grimm said on WTTG-TV-5: "We could come back if nothing changes. We're not happy with the negotiations. The benefits we get out of this {a new contract} are not going to make up for our losses."

The striking Redskins are scheduled to meet today to hear Olkewicz's report from yesterday's meeting and possibly vote on coming back to work, but even if they do return, team officials are considering keeping the replacement team intact for a while in case the regular team walks out again.

The situation is so fluid that almost everyone -- from striking players, replacement players and coaches to front office personnel -- was caught in limbo, waiting word from the owners, then the verdict from the players' meeting today.

Sunday night, the striking Redskins held a team meeting at quarterback Jay Schroeder's house in Great Falls, Va. They voted on the issue of returning to work with certain conditions, but their vote was simply a recommendation for Olkewicz to take to the NFLPA meeting, not a course of action.

Schroeder, speaking on WUSA-TV-9 before Upshaw's announcement, addressed the issue of what would happen if the striking players returned to Redskin Park.

"If we do come back, then I think we'll have to stay," said Schroeder, Griffin's co-assistant player representative.

One player said the Redskins "would not crawl back in, would not go in and say, 'The owners beat us.' "

"I can't see us doing anything on our own," the player said. "And we're not going to go in just to go in. There are 20 other teams who would vote to go in before we did."

Griffin said he did not "see how the owners could not accept" the union plan. "I'm quite sure we'll hear from them Tuesday, and I think there's a 75 percent chance we could be on the field Wednesday. At least we've put the ball in their hands. Now everybody can see we are ready to play."

Meanwhile, Coach Joe Gibbs said he was continuing to prepare his replacement team, which has won its two games, for next Monday night's game at Dallas, although he doesn't like the thought at all. The Redskins and Cowboys are both 3-1 and tied for first place in the NFC East, but the Cowboys have nine union players back, including most of their defensive line, quarterback Danny White and running back Tony Dorsett.

"I think this game will be the first one that is a major problem," Gibbs said yesterday at Redskin Park. "This has become a real serious situation for us."

Some at Redskin Park believe the striking players do not want to miss the game with arch-rival Dallas. Returning for practice Wednesday would give them an extra day of practice before the game, although Gibbs said the Cowboys still would have an advantage because their veterans who returned have practiced and played while every Redskin has been out.

Even if the Redskins want to return, they don't want to be the only team to do so, Griffin said.

"We just can't act as the Washington Redskins," he said. "We've got to work together with other teams.

"To me, it seems like to go this far, to have lost the money we have lost, if we pack it in, we've done everything in vain," he said. "Nothing will have been accomplished. I'd at least like to say we've lost money but reached an agreement."

If the striking Redskins do return Wednesday, what will happen to the replacement players? It's unlikely they simply will pack their bags and go home, sources said yesterday. The organization probably will ask them to stay, and perhaps will have them practice elsewhere, just in case the regular team, playing without an agreement, walks out again.

For now, though, Gibbs and his staff have two game plans in hand. Their regular game plan for Dallas, written in training camp, awaits the striking players' return. Their new one, for the replacements, will be put into effect Wednesday if the strikers don't return. Because the replacements have had almost three weeks of practice, their game plan is quite like the regulars' game plan.

"Right now, we're planning to go with the guys we have here," Gibbs said. "If the strike breaks, I'm sure the league will tell us what to do."

Staff writer Tony Kornheiser contributed to this report.