NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue yesterday said it was unlikely "at this point" there would be any developmental squads this season.
Several NFL sources had said there was strong sentiment for bringing the developmental teams back and that some negotiations had been conducted with the players who filed suit over the $1,000-a-week pay scale.
Whatever those discussions have been, they've yet to result in an agreement, and at least one NFL source said the squads probably wouldn't be brought back this season.
That's a blow to the Washington Redskins and other teams who liked the seven-man squads and considered them an important way to develop young players. But, Tagliabue said: "The clubs have had a change of thinking here. . . . At this point, I think it's unlikely."
Redskins Coach Joe Gibbs refused to be drawn into a debate with Tagliabue, saying: "You want me to disagree with the commissioner? They've got the rules. We're the guys who live with it. I'm not going to get into a rebuttal."
The Redskins told some of their released players this week to stand by because the developmental squads, which were dropped this season after being challenged in court, might be returning. They believe it's important because with a 47-man roster, teams have trouble finding enough guys to practice after the first few weeks of the regular season.Either Orr . . .
Terry Orr enters the final preseason game -- Friday against the Los Angeles Rams at RFK Stadium -- apparently fighting to keep his spot on the roster. The decision on him is one of the reasons coaches hate this time of the year and it's particularly true of Orr.
He has been a Redskin for four years, and from the way he handles himself off the field to his work habits on the field, he has exemplified what Gibbs calls "Good Redskins."
But the tight end-H-back position is crowded, with seven players competing for four spots. Jimmie Johnson and Don Warren definitely are on the team. John Brandes probably will make it because he's also the long snapper.
That could leave four players -- Orr, Ron Middleton, Mike Tice and Ken Whisenhunt -- competing for the final spot. Middleton and Orr appear to be in a dead heat for the job unless a fifth player is kept.
It's no lock, though, and Friday's performances may make the final decision.
"For me, it's been the same way all four years," Orr said. "Every camp has been the same. I'll just try to do what I've done the last five years. That's all I can do."
Asked if the decision on Orr might be a particularly tough one, Gibbs said: "What a guy like him has going for him is a great track record. I feel I know him, and to keep someone else over him, they'd have to show me a lot."Vaughn to Miss Rams
Safety Clarence Vaughn got his injured left shoulder checked by doctors again yesterday and is definitely out of the Rams game. His availability for the Sept. 9 regular season opener against the Phoenix Cardinals is in doubt.