There's Schroeder-Williams, and then there's Olkewicz-Milot.

"Yeah, I had all my bumper stickers ready, but then {quarterbacks Jay} Schroeder and {Doug} Williams got in the way," said Neal Olkewicz, who shares the Washington Redskins middle linebacker spot with Rich Milot. "I had 50,000 'I Like Olky' stickers, and now they're just sitting in the closet."

Here's a closet controversy if there's ever been one. Olkewicz, in his ninth season, started on the injured reserve list this year, while Milot, in his ninth season, started on the field. After the players' strike, Milot kept playing, even though Olkewicz's injured knee was healed.

Milot then hurt his ankle against the New York Jets, and Olkewicz stepped in. Three games later, a healthy Milot stepped back in. Now, Milot's got a sore knee, so this Sunday's starter is anyone's guess.

Truthfully, neither one is losing any sleep.

Except when Maryland plays Penn State, they're best friends.

They were both rookies in 1979, Olkewicz a free agent from Maryland and Milot a seventh-round draft choice from Penn State. Olkewicz had heard of Milot. He'd seen him intercept a pass against Alabama in the 1978 Sugar Bowl.

Yesterday, Thanksgiving Day, they got a little sentimental.

Milot: "Yeah, I returned that interception 55 or 60 yards. Got caught from behind."

Olkewicz: "That was for the national championship. I was rooting like hell against Penn State . . . They'd turned me down for a scholarship. Said I was too small."

Milot: "Yeah, you hated my guts when I first got here. Hadn't even met you."

Olkewicz: "Yeah, I did hate you."

Milot: "We hadn't even met."

Olkewicz: "Yeah, well you walked in with your Penn State blazer. He was late {for minicamp} because he had to take exams. A true {Penn State Coach Joe} Paterno boy."

Milot: "Ha! Ha! I played the Penn State thing to the hilt."

Olkewicz: "Yeah, you were a big draft pick, seventh round."

Actually, Milot says they became friendly when Olkewicz let him have an extra plate of lobster on team lobster night.

"Each of us only got one lobster," Milot says. "And he never ate his."

Olkewicz: "I'm a hamburger, steak and potato man. Give me steak and potatoes, and I'm happy the rest of my life."

Milot: "Once I got him to eat shrimp."

Olkewicz: "Yuuuuuuch."

Both were further united by the players' strike, and both have wondered outrageous things out loud, such as: "Why are we here?" In other words, both have said the strike affected their respective psyches this season.

Harry Carson, the New York Giants middle linebacker, said the other day: "There's a lot of bitterness left over {from the strike}. Players are back doing their jobs, but it's not the same. Management could care less about the way the players feel. It'll show in the performance {of players} for a long time to come. I don't think it'll be the same until {management} gets a new crop of players. They squeezed the players; they taught us a lesson."

Olkewicz, alerted of Carson's speech, said he tended to agree with it.

By no means, though, does it mean he and Milot aren't trying as hard. Defensive coordinator Larry Peccatiello says Milot has improved against the run and Olkewicz has improved against the pass. Nonetheless, Olkewicz still plays mostly on running downs, and Milot on passing downs.

Of their platoon system, Milot said: "Well, of course, there's got to be emotions involved. This is your livelihood, and everyone's got their families to support. We both have little daughters, for instance."

Olkewicz: "Yeah, they're about the same age."

Milot: "Fortunately, she doesn't look like him. Nah, she's a little cutey."

Redskins Notes:

Darrell Green, who skipped Wednesday's workout with the flu, returned to yesterday's practice . . . Offensive line coach Joe Bugel on his decision to start much-maligned Jeff Bostic at center against the Giants: "We started back in March to get ready for this game. Bostic played in all three games {against the Giants} last year, and he deserves the opportunity to go against them. Being 0-3 {against the Giants last year}, we wanted to give everybody another chance to see how we matched up again this year. Bugel also said the move was not a reflection on Darrick Brilz, who started ahead of Bostic last Monday night against the Rams. Bostic said: "Well, I'm very excited about getting an opportunity to play again. It's been a different season, but I think I've handled the role put on me as well as possible. And now with the opportunity to play, I have a chance to prove myself."