The Washington Redskins last night voted unanimously to stay on strike, player representative Neal Olkewicz said, ending two days of speculation that they were about to return to work as a team.

However, defensive end Dexter Manley, who earlier in the day said he will break with his teammates and report for work at Redskin Park this morning, did not attend the team meeting where the vote was taken. Olkewicz said he spoke with Manley before the team meeting at center Russ Grimm's Oakton home and got the impression Manley "seemed to be wavering" from his earlier position.

"He told me he's thinking about it," Olkewicz said. "He still has not made a final decision."

Manley, reached by telephone at his Reston home last night, would not say if he had changed his mind. Nearly two weeks ago, he said he was "considering" returning to work, then decided not to cross the team's picket line. His striking teammates will wait until this morning to see what he does this time.

"To tell you the truth, I'm not that concerned about it," Olkewicz said.

If Manley returns, he will be the first striking Redskin to defy his teammates and come back to work.

The Redskins' decision came in a show of hands at the two-hour meeting attended by about 50 players, several of whom arrived as much as 1 1/2 hours late. The meeting apparently was calm and orderly, as players spoke about their concerns and their opinions.

"Tonight, the Washington Redskins unanimously voted to back the union 100 percent," Olkewicz said on Grimm's front lawn after the meeting. "We will not go in tomorrow."

The vote came in the wake of the NFL Management Council's rejection of the union's proposal of binding arbitration to settle the 23-day strike.

"Obviously, we're hurting; no doubt about it," Olkewicz said. "There's not much doubt that they're winning. We're backed against the wall and we're going to fight."

He said that, if the Redskins, one of the NFL's strongest union teams, had voted to return to work, there was "no doubt" the other teams would have followed the Redskins' lead. He said the Redskins were prepared to strike all season but said he thought it "still possible" the regular players could play against Dallas Monday night at Texas Stadium if management compromised.

Dozens of other Redskins refused comment as they left the meeting, deferring to Olkewicz as their spokesman. However, earlier in the day, the team's quarterbacks were brimming with optimism, saying they hoped to be back practicing today. Now, the replacement players, who have won both games they have played, will continue to prepare for the Cowboys, who have nine veterans on their team. The Redskins might have one: Manley.

Early yesterday morning, Manley said he would return on his own, no matter the outcome of last night's meeting.

"I will be going in tomorrow morning," he said on WWDC-FM radio. "I hope my teammates can understand. I think they feel the same way. I've just never been the type of guy that can follow."

Before last night's meeting some of the striking Redskins said they were not overly concerned about Manley's statements.

"Dexter's got something to talk about every morning," said quarterback Jay Schroeder, an assistant player representative. "Dexter went on his radio show and said he wants to come back tomorrow morning. I hope all of us are back tomorrow morning."

The team overwhelmingly voted Sunday night to recommend to a Monday meeting of union officials that they wanted to return to work if the NFL owners agreed to certain conditions, including arbitration. Frustration ran high as the team's four striking quarterbacks -- Schroeder, Doug Williams, Babe Laufenberg and Mark Rypien -- appeared at a Quarterback Club luncheon yesterday. All said they hope to be back to work in time to play Dallas Monday night at Texas Stadium.

"It's gotten to the point now where the owners have realized that the teams they've put out on the field aren't exactly what they were hoping for," Schroeder said. "The players have been out long enough to realize the owners are going to put on games and the fans are going to watch it either way."

"What we have to guard against is {replacement} players becoming stars in two games. There's guys who have put their life into playing in the NFL, guys like Dave Butz, who has been in this league for 13 years and, all of a sudden, he's a forgotten man. We can't let those people go by the wayside. We've got to get back to playing football."

"We have compromised a heck of a lot, and the owners haven't budged," Williams said. "It's like they just want to take everything away from us."

The developments of Monday night, in which the union called for the owners to agree in writing to submit the contested issues of the negotiations to mediation and arbitration, made a confused situation rather chaotic. The NFL Players Association's executive director, Gene Upshaw, said the union would strike "for the duration," if the owners do not agree to their proposal to settle the strike. Some players believe Upshaw backed them into a corner with that statement.

"I think Gene came out and said that with a lot of emotion," Schroeder said. "The players are going to decide if they want to come in. I don't think it's Gene's call."

Both sides' failure to agree on the issues is not the only reason the players were eager to return. The Redskins-Cowboys game had something to do with it, Schroeder said.

"You have to look at that. They've got a lot of veterans in to begin with. We're both 3-1. At the end of the year, this could mean a lot. We want to be there at the end of the year in the playoffs. If it takes going in and playing this game, we've got to make this decision."

Schroeder said if the Redskins do return, he would be able to play Monday night, because the sprain in his right shoulder has healed.

Now, everything is up for grabs, including Manley's status.

Earlier he had said: "I couldn't pass up playing Dallas. I couldn't see myself sitting out. I'd like to get to {quarterback} Danny White again and again. That's what I'm going to do. How could you pass up playing the Dallas Cowboys, giving up the chance to be able to ring Danny White's clock, clean his head. That's what I enjoy doing."