Rookie Timmy Smith apparently isn't stepping on anyone's toes -- specifically George Rogers' sore big toe -- by platooning in the Washington Redskins backfield.

Rogers often wears a lively T-shirt that says, "C'mon Joe {as in Gibbs}, let's go to San Diego {the Super Bowl site}," which indicates that his true colors are his team colors. Coaches say Rogers was slightly depressed Tuesday when Smith first shared time with him in practice, but assistant coach Don Breaux said Rogers was "great" yesterday. In fact, when Smith broke a run or two in Miami last Sunday night, Breaux says Rogers tapped him on the shoulder and whispered: "Hey, Timmy ran pretty good this last series, so why don't you let him take another?"

Smith is appreciative, saying things like, "George, he's a real nice guy. When I first got here, he invited me to his house and had me stay over a couple nights. He and Kelvin {Bryant, another runner} are both nice. We all hang out and play cards."

Putting team over self is not always an easy thing, especially when it gets to be this time of year. Yesterday, for instance, the NFL announced its Pro Bowl squad, a list that inevitably agitates someone who gets left off and inherently creates jealousy.

The Honolulu-bound Redskins are cornerback Darrell Green (first team), wide receiver Gary Clark (second team) and defensive end Charles Mann (second team). Also, cornerback Barry Wilburn -- who leads the NFL with eight interceptions -- is an alternate, though he'll only play if someone gets injured or if the NFC coach feels the team needs an extra defensive back.

Wilburn sort of thought he'd make the team outright, so he was slightly miffed. It's the NFL players who vote for the team, and there were grumblings around Redskin Park yesterday that it's not how good you are, it's who you know.

"I'm not saying it's a popularity vote, but maybe some guys don't know my name," said Wilburn with a half-grin. "I think the coaches do {know him}, because they put the game plans together. But, hey, the Super Bowl is the real bowl. That's the bowl I'm concentrating on."

Yesterday's down-in-the-dumps Redskin was defensive end Dexter Manley, who places the Pro Bowl as a high priority and who -- though there's no apparent animosity -- is almost always in a personal duel with Mann. Mann agreed that the Pro Bowl "means so much" to Manley, which was why Manley rarely flashed his infectious smile yesterday.

"My peers picked that, so I've got to come out and redeem myself," Manley said. "I'm very disappointed, but life must go on. The most important thing I do have is that I'm sober {Manley was in an alcohol-rehabilitation program last offseason}."

Mann has more sacks than Manley -- 8-7 1/3. But some of this might have to do with personality, not ability. Mann, for instance, pointed out that tackle Mark May -- who's been as consistent as any Redskins offensive lineman -- has a reputation around the league as a "dirty" player, and Mann said that might have kept him off the team.

Mann said he felt sorry for Manley, adding: "{The Pro Bowl} means a lot to me, too, but it wasn't going to be the end of the world if I didn't make it. I have other joys in my life; I have a baby coming. I mean, I'm happy that people are finally saying, 'Charles Mann is someone to be reckoned with,' but I just wonder how much of it was given to me {just by reputation among his peers}."

On the other hand, Green will make his third Pro Bowl appearance in five years. In a way, he was redeemed by the announcement since opponents have picked on him with success this season.

"But I'm not looking for something to slap in people's faces," Green said. "Every year's been great for me. For a guy who wasn't even supposed to even play football back when I was 140 pounds . . . Well, people say I'm too little, but look what I'm doing."

But when it comes to humility, there's no one better than Rogers, who has a Heisman Trophy on his mantelpiece and a boulevard named after him in South Carolina. His classy treatment of Smith is a tribute. Rogers has been injured this year, has been ripped by former Redskins runner John Riggins, has been benched for Kelvin Bryant and now this. Through it all, he said yesterday: "You've got to be friends before anything else. At the same time, I'm as competitive as any of them."

According to Coach Gibbs, Smith will share time with Rogers, and "whoever's hot" will play. Smith, who missed most of his junior and senior years at Texas Tech because of injuries, says, "I just want to make the most of this."

Yesterday, he stayed after practice to work on picking up blitzes, and Bobby Beathard, the Redskins' general manager, says he needs to realize the importance of a "work ethic."

Redskins Notes:

Wide receiver Clark left practice with a strained left thigh, and his status will be evaluated today. In his absence, Clarence Verdin worked with the first team . . . Wide receiver Art Monk continued rehabilitating his injured knee, and trainer Bubba Tyer said: "We're still optimistic about Art playing the playoffs. But when I say playoffs, I don't say {first round}; I just say playoffs. It's still early." However, assistant coach Dan Henning sounded certain that Monk would return for the first-round game . . . Tight end Clint Didier missed practice with a groin injury, but is listed as probable for Saturday's game with the Vikings.