The Washington branch of the Over-The-Hill Gang convened en masse yesterday at the Touchdown Club for a tribute to George Allen, the man who brought them all together so many years ago and, as former kicker Mark Moseley said, "changed all our lives forever."

A crowd of more than 250 that included at least 20 old Washington Redskins, all of them still living in the area, a number of former and current club employees and one past presidential candidate, George McGovern, gathered at the downtown club to reminisce for two hours about Allen, who died Dec. 31 of a coronary spasm at his home in Palos Verdes, Calif., at the age of 72.

Joe Theismann, who hardly ever played during the Allen years, spoke kindly about the man who coached the Redskins during 1971-77. Allen brought Theismann to Washington from the Canadian Football League in 1974, then kept him on the bench most of the next four years with a team the former quarterback described as "a group of characters with character."

Standing next to a portrait of Allen draped in black crepe, Theismann looked at the picture and said, "That sly smile, that's how I remember George Allen -- that look like he just got the canary. . . . He taught me patience. People always ask me what was it like to play for George. I don't know. I never played. He did let me watch Billy {Kilmer} a lot."

Tim Temerario, now 85 and back then Allen's top aide and the team's assistant general manager, said he wanted to set the record straight about his old boss. "He never traded a draft choice he didn't have -- somebody else did it," Temerario said.

"I never knew him to do a crooked thing. He was a little devious, but nothing crooked."

Retired offensive tackle George Starke described himself as "a rare commodity; I was a George Allen draft choice. . . . He'd look at an old guy and say to himself, 'That guy has 19 sacks left in him and I want every one of them.' "

Retired wide receiver Roy Jefferson said he often got angry with Allen for his interminable practices, not because of their duration but because his old coach would spend so much time working with his precious defense.

"We'd be out there three hours and for two of those hours I'd be running dummy plays for the defense," Jefferson said. "We didn't have a whole lot of stuff on offense. We'd just run Larry {Brown}. Run Larry. One more time, run Larry."

Brown said he would never forget the team's great rivalry with the Dallas Cowboys, the games George Allen lived for, and "my favorite moment was the night we beat them at RFK Stadium {in 1972} and went on to the Super Bowl. We're honoring a great man, a great coach, a person who meant a great deal to me."

Said Theismann, "Some day, someone is going to win an NFL game by the score of 2-0, and George Allen will be smiling, because the defense won it, and the offense didn't make any mistakes."