Serenaded by chants of "Ollie, Ollie," Lt. Col. Oliver North addressed the Washington Redskins yesterday on their upcoming mission in San Diego.

Dwarfed in the middle of 55 football players after practice, North -- the former aide to the National Security Council and a central figure in the Iran-contra hearings last summer -- told the Redskins that he and a bunch of his ex-Marine buddies have "watched" their recent playoff victories and have "grown old" in the process.

"Yeah," said Redskins center Jeff Bostic, "and about the Super Bowl, he said, 'The only thing that man or God could ask of you is to do your very best and you'll be proud of yourself.' He's a great guy, a great guy."

With that, the Redskins were off, finished with their final workout at Redskin Park before leaving today for Super Bowl XXII in San Diego (next Sunday, 6 p.m.). And Redskin Drive was definitely aglitter, with burgundy and gold balloons and hundreds of fans to match. Coach Joe Gibbs seemed glad that North came by.

"Those Marines going over the hill, they've got a lot at stake, too, a little more than we have," Gibbs said yesterday. "So, our players, I think, like the Lt. Colonel."

It's also safe to say some Redskins were California dreaming yesterday, especially kicker Jess Atkinson, who apparently still hasn't been ruled out from playing in the Super Bowl against the Denver Broncos. Again, yesterday, Gibbs made it seem that Ali Haji-Sheikh is solidly entrenched as his kicker, saying: "I think {the kicking situation} is resolved, unless I resurrect it. It's resolved as far as I'm concerned."

But he also said Atkinson will continue to kick side by side with Haji-Sheikh in San Diego and added there's still some "doubt" in his mind about Haji-Sheikh. "If something's not going well, there's always doubt," he said. "But I've said if I choose to make that {switch to Atkinson}, I'll say so. Otherwise, it stands as it is."

Practice was shorter yesterday, but the Redskins received a brief scare when cornerback Darrell Green caught a hard spiral from quarterback Jay Schroeder in the sore area of his ribs. Green went down in a heap, and trainers rushed to his side, but Green was prancing around the field later and skipped only the contact portion of the workout.

"The pain was most acute when the ball first hit him," trainer Bubba Tyer said. "But he's fine. It didn't make the injury any worse."

Also, tackle Joe Jacoby -- who missed a portion of Friday's practice with a bruised shoulder -- took all contact work and appeared fine. Defensive tackles Darryl Grant (ankle) and Steve Hamilton (groin) skipped the contact work, but Tyer said both will be ready when the Redskins resume full-scale workouts Wednesday in San Diego.

And, finally, running back George Rogers (sore ankle) returned to work, though running back coach Don Breaux said Rogers "is a little gimpy right now. Is he 100 percent? Not today, he isn't." But Tyer also expected a healthy Rogers by Wednesday. Rogers is supposed to start the Super Bowl.

Of course, any other year, the Redskins might be scared by Rogers' injury, but not now, not with their three-man backfield rotation. If the Broncos have their "Three Amigos" (at wide receiver), so do the Redskins, who employ the trio of Rogers, Kelvin Bryant and rookie Timmy Smith as sort of interchangeable parts of their backfield. Actually, it's Smith and Rogers sharing the bulk of the work on early downs, while Bryant plays in all passing situations and gets an occasional handoff.

Breaux and Gibbs definitely seem pleased with Smith's production, which included 72 yards on 13 carries in the NFC championship victory over Minnesota last Sunday. "I think we've relied on {Rogers} in the past, but Timmy's come on and made a place for himself, too," Breaux said.

Smith's story is a grand one, considering he played all of two football games in his junior and senior seasons at Texas Tech. Injuries to his knee and foot were the problem, but Redskins General Manager Bobby Beathard had him cleared by Redskins doctors before last year's draft and also got the inkling that Smith had the proper attitude to be a Redskin.

Immediately after the draft (Beathard took him in the fifth round), Smith came to Washington and lifted weights for the first time in his life.

When he showed up for those post-draft workouts, Smith said he was out of shape and weighed 225 pounds. He's now at 215, but Beathard walked by him yesterday and jabbed him. "Quit eating," Beathard joked.

Smith said: "Ah, he's always on me. I mean, I'm 215, the lightest I've been. But I think {Beathard} sees the talent deep down. I think he's trying to push me into being the best running back I can be."

Rogers started the Vikings game on a tear, rushing for 31 yards on his first six carries, but he got kicked in the ankle, which gave Smith a chance.

"We had planned last week to play both of them, even if both were doing well," Breaux said. "I mean, George could have started great, but we were still going to give Timmy a shot."

As for Bryant, he said he is completely healthy. Bryant, in three seasons with the Philadelphia/Baltimore Stars, played in three title games and was the most valuable player of his third one.

"I had a real good time at the USFL championship games, and I'm pretty sure I'll have one this time, too."