Running back George Rogers said yesterday that John Riggins criticized him last Sunday "probably just to get attention" and that Riggins, the former Washington Redskins star runner, isn't "qualified to talk about my running at all."

Rogers, who made those statements yesterday while hunched in front of his locker, admitted he's heard Riggins' comments before. "He's always talking about me," Rogers said. "If it ain't one thing, it's another . . . As far as him talking about other players, I think he ought to keep his mouth shut."

Yet Rogers seemed somewhat amused by all of the attention and hardly spoke with a sharp tongue. At times, he would scold Riggins, but then he'd back off and laugh.

"I don't know why he says things about other players," said Rogers, who gained 64 yards on 27 carries during Sunday's 24-20 Redskins victory over Dallas. "{Riggins} should let bygones be bygones . . . I can't say anything bad about John. He was a good running back when he was here, but when it comes to talking about me, he doesn't need to say anything about me. I know what I need to do {on the field}. He just needs to talk about himself; not about me."

Riggins, who gained 7,472 yards in nine seasons with the Redskins (mostly plowing up the middle), analyzed the Redskins' running game at halftime of the Dallas game on WMAL Radio. WMAL's Sonny Jurgensen brought up the issue, and Riggins' answer went like this:

"I'm a fan, but I don't get around to watching TV that often and watching what's going on. So I've missed some of this. {But} the running game -- with George Rogers in particular -- well, he's had a tough year. He's tried to come around, but, in my opinion, he's not the answer as the natural guy to follow me after I left the game.

"To be quite honest, it sounds crazy but {former Maryland and Redskins runner} Rick Badanjek was probably the natural man to fill in the shoes of myself and the way the Redskins' style and approach to the game was.

"I got good when I got old, which is kind of foreign for a running back to do. That isn't the way it usually works. But I changed my style quite a bit because of the way the Redskins played the game. We'd run plays when there were arms and legs and things hanging, dangling in the hole, and you'd go ahead and run through that stuff.

"In my personal opinion, George Rogers doesn't want to run through that stuff. And I think Kelvin Bryant -- and his name wasn't mentioned -- but he's another fellow who will always try to find something real clear. They think they're faster than they are, and they're not. Besides, even if they were 9.1 100-meter men, there are other guys on the defense that can put an angle on you and take that away from you . . . They need a little more ferocity if they're gonna try to get back to the old Redskin game."

Riggins was unavailable for comment yesterday, but current Redskins center Russ Grimm tried defending him a litte. Grimm, who has missed the last five games because of a knee injury, stood next to Riggins on the sidelines on Sunday. Riggins wore a cowboy hat and a Kansas letterman's sweater, and Grimm said yesterday, "He's a great guy to watch a game with."

Grimm added: "I guess he said some things on a radio show, but, you know, if you don't understand John, they can be taken out of context. I know him fairly well personally, and I know he wishes the best for everybody on this football team.

"And, in a roundabout way, he might be trying to get a few guys on this team pumped up a little bit. C'mon. Even though some stuff might be taken wrong, he's the greatest guy in the world. Listen, for him to get on {the radio} and say something normal, I mean, everybody would've thought something's wrong with him."

Rogers, who has gained 503 yards and averaged 3.7 yards per carry this year, pointed out that defenses have changed since Riggins left following the 1985 season. For instance, he said yesterday that, "Everybody's defense has gotten better against the one-back offense."

He added: "{Riggins} had his chance to play, and he played well. {But} people are not doing the same things they were doing when he was here. So as far as him talking about other players, I think he should just keep his mouth shut.

"I think, more than anything, he compares this offense to how well he did. It's not that way any more. People have gotten used to what we do more than when he was here. He used to run good against the Giants, but when he left, he wasn't running good against them. So you can't compare us."

Riggins gained only 11 yards on seven carries in his last game against the Giants, on Nov. 18, 1985 (the night Joe Theismann broke his leg). That same night, Rogers had 23 yards on seven carries.

Offensive line coach Joe Bugel, who says he still has "great respect" for Riggins, admitted yesterday he was "disappointed" by Riggins' statements.

"Anytime an ex-Redskin comes out and says things, it surprises us," Bugel said. "I can't say anything bad about John, but it's just a surprise. When he was here, he sure laid it on the line for us. But that's not being a real Redskin, saying things like that."

Rogers admitted that injuries, from his shoulder to his right big toe, have set him back. Bryant, too, has been bothered with hamstring and ankle injuries.

"What {Riggins} said is unfair to me, unfair to Kelvin," Rogers said. "You're going to get hurt. This is football. This ain't no basketball or baseball. You'll get injured, and you're not going to get good runs all the time. But, sure, we can get a little more consistent."

Redskins Notes:

Grimm returned to practice yesterday, though Bugel says he has to be "120 percent well" to play Sunday night against Miami. Grimm had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee on Nov. 10, and Bugel says it does no good to rush him back with the playoffs around the bend. Bugel also said Grimm still has some pain on one side of the knee.

"If there's any pain at all, he won't be activated," Bugel said . . .

The injury report: Bryant (ankle), tight end Joe Caravello (foot), defensive end Dexter Manley (shoulder), cornerback Darrell Green (neck) and linebacker Kurt Gouveia (hand and knee) are all probable.

Gouveia replaced Monte Coleman last Sunday at outside linebacker when Coleman bruised his ribs, and assistant coach Larry Peccatiello said Gouveia was "one of the pleasant surprises of the game."

Actually, it was more of a surprise that Rich Milot, a former outside linebacker who now plays in the middle, was passed over for Gouveia. But Peccatiello says Milot, who started at middle linebacker before injuring his ankle against the Jets, Oct. 25, hadn't practiced recently on the outside and is still valuable to the team, especially against passing quarterbacks like Dan Marino.

"I really feel sorry that injuries and the strike had such an adverse effect on Rich," Peccatiello said yesterday. "He had started out great, and I think he would've had his best year ever." . . .

Defensive end Charles Mann was named NFC defensive player of the week after recording five tackles, two sacks and six hurries against the Cowboys.