The Washington Redskins voted yesterday to return to work this morning, but General Manager Bobby Beathard said, due to an NFL rule, they won't be able to play against Dallas Monday night unless the players' strike is over.

The Redskins, the only league team that has not had a player cross the picket line, are scheduled to meet again at 9 a.m. today at the Ramada Renaissance hotel near Redskin Park to make a final decision based on last night's developments, one Redskin said.

"We're going to meet in the morning to see what our direction is," the player said. "There's a possibility that any decision made today could be changed in the morning."

A conference call of player representatives with NFLPA Executive Director Gene Upshaw was scheduled for this morning. Upshaw said last night that the Redskins "are going back."

Player representative Neal Olkewicz declined comment, but owner Jack Kent Cooke said last night, "We are hoping they will be back."

If the Redskins do show up to practice this morning, they still cannot play this week because they will have missed the 1 p.m. Wednesday deadline for reporting to work, set by the league. A management attorney, Jim Conway, said last night the owners would not rescind the rule, and there is expected to be strong opposition from the Cowboys if there are indications the league will make an exemption and allow the Redskins to play their regular players.

"I was told that if {Management Council executive director Jack Donlan and Upshaw} had reached an agreement {Wednesday}, the deadline would be extended. But if the players came in and there was no agreement, there was no possibility they could play," Beathard said.

If the striking players do return, Redskins officials have taken precautions to make sure there are no incidents involving the team and its nonunion replacements, Beathard said. The organization obviously must keep its replacement team because of the league deadline situation.

"We will not practice two teams at the same time, I can tell you that," Beathard said. "I'm sure Joe Gibbs will meet with the striking players if they do come in. But I don't anticipate any confrontation between the two teams at all. We've addressed the problem. Do we leave the replacement guys at the Marriott? I don't know yet."

Beathard said the organization has discussed the situation at length. "I honest to God don't have any idea if they're coming in or not coming in," he said. "Right now, I really don't know what's going on. We talked about all the possibilities as a staff, but we decided, let's forget all the rumors. Let's get this team {the replacements} ready to play. If anyone would have come in before 1 o'clock {Wednesday}, they could have played. Now it's out of our control. We'll get these other guys ready to play; that's our plan."

Although team officials want their veterans back for the Cowboys game, they are planning to play the replacements, unless the strike ends and everyone returns. "Our replacment guys will have to do the best they can," Beathard said. "They're looking forward to it. In this kind of situation, you don't always get what you want."

In another development, defensive end Dexter Manley, who said Tuesday morning that he was going to return to work, changed his mind and did not show up at Redskin Park yesterday. He said on WWDC-FM radio that he made his decision after finding out that his teammates unanimously voted to stay out at their initial meeting, according to Olkewicz.

While several players said there was no dissension at the Tuesday meeting, Beathard said earlier in the day he "heard from a couple of sources that {the players' vote} wasn't unanimous. I heard that it was a majority. Either way, they're not here."

Running back George Rogers, who said he attended the Tuesday night meeting but missed yesterday's meeting (both of which were held at center Russ Grimm's Oakton home), said he voted for staying out on strike, but didn't really want to.

"It's getting to the point where I'm getting kind of frustrated," Rogers said. "I'm missing a lot of time. It's helped me out as far as my injury {sprained right shoulder} is concerned. But no one likes it. I think it's pretty much up to the union now, what we will do."

At Redskin Park, Beathard and Cooke said they were surprised the team voted not to return before the deadline.

Said Beathard, "I had hoped that all of them would have showed up, but it didn't happen. I thought it would happen, not just with the Redskins but with several teams. It didn't so I don't know what the plan is."

They both praised the solidarity of their team, saying they would rather they all stick together as opposed to trickling in one by one.

"This may come as a surprise, but I'm very proud they've acted as a unit," Cooke said. "We've always talked about the family of the Redskins and they've stuck together the same as any well-brought up, well-intentioned family does. They are an awfully tight group of guys and they proved that this time."

Manley's flip-flop was not totally unexpected. He said nearly two weeks ago he was "considering" returning, then decided against it.

"I don't think that anybody was surprised that he wasn't here," Beathard said. Staff writers Leonard Shapiro and Michael Wilbon contributed to this report.