Former quarterback Joe Theismann was back in action with the Washington Redskins yesterday, if only for a spell. Wearing jeans, sneakers and a polo shirt, Theismann took the field during practice at Redskin Park and threw to the receivers, a task normally handled by passing game coordinator Terry Robiskie.

His spirals were nice, but the placement was a bit rusty. Afterward, he joked he needed to get iced down.

After watching the two-hour practice, Theismann also spoke favorably about the Redskins' prospects this season, citing their enthusiasm, improved defense, the leadership of veterans Larry Centers and Marco Coleman and capable quarterbacks.

"The one thing that jumps out at me this year more than any other year I've seen is a sense of enthusiasm," Theismann said. "There's a sense of purpose."

In Brad Johnson, Theismann said he saw a player capable of efficiently running Coach Norv Turner's offense. "They've struggled at the quarterback position in recent years," he added. "Heath [Shuler] didn't work out. Gus [Frerotte] got off to a good start and for whatever reason wasn't able to produce. I thought Trent Green did a terrific job. Trent had played as well as anybody around here in a long time. I think all three of these guys -- Casey [Weldon], Rodney [Peete] and Brad -- have the ability to operate this offense in a productive fashion."

Theismann also chided Seattle wide receiver Joey Galloway for balking at the Seahawks' latest contract offer. He said he doubted Galloway would end up with the Redskins or any team other than Seattle, but admired Redskins officials for exploring a trade. "They've got three number ones [draft picks] for next year," Theismann noted. "Why not see what you can get? But I'd be shocked if Joey wound up going anywhere but Seattle, and I think Joey ought to get back and play some football."

Theismann predicted Galloway could have 100 catches and nearly 20 touchdowns under Coach Mike Holmgren's system. "He's not going to have that kind of production anywhere else in football or anywhere else he could conceivably go," Theismann said.

Theismann said he thought Galloway, who is still under contract to Seattle, had an obligation to play for the team -- despite feeling he should be paid more under a re-negotiated deal. "Joey Galloway has got to understand one thing: This game is going to go forward," he said. "And Joey Galloway will be a conversation piece of what football used to be, just like Joe Theismann, just like John Riggins, just like Barry Sanders, just like John Elway. We all become a conversation piece when you're no longer an active part of this thing. To pass up an opportunity to be on that field is a mistake."

More Time for Tardio

With tight ends Stephen Alexander (knee) and Kevin Pesak (ankle) unable to play in Friday's preseason finale against Tampa Bay, rookie Robert Tardio should get another chance to earn a roster spot before final cuts are made Saturday. Tardio, who was undrafted out of Boston College, signed with the Redskins over a few other teams because of their use of the tight end. He's behind Alexander, James Jenkins and Mike Sellers on the depth chart.

Tardio had a touchdown reception against Pittsburgh last week, but the play was negated by a penalty. "It was an emotional roller-coaster," Tardio said. "For something so great to happen -- I'm running on the sideline with the ball in my hand -- and I see a flag. So it broke my heart. But we scored a couple plays later and I made a big block, so that gives me just as much satisfaction." . . .

Defensive end Rahmaan Streater is listed day-to-day after spraining his ankle in practice Tuesday. . . . Fullback Larry Centers returned to practice yesterday and reported feeling great after a day's rest.