Veteran wide receiver Irving Fryar said yesterday that he is considering postponing his retirement for another year and playing next season for the Washington Redskins. Meanwhile, Redskins owner Daniel M. Snyder has told Fryar, 37, he is welcome to spend another season with the team.
Fryar said the fate of Coach Norv Turner and Turner's staff will be a factor in his decision about whether to return for a 17th NFL season. But Snyder already has indicated his desire to have Fryar back.
"He has let me know that he does want me to stick around," Fryar said of Snyder. "I guess it doesn't matter who the coach is. If the owner wants you around, then that's a big part of it. . . . He's going to be back. He's going to be here for a while."
Snyder confirmed Fryar's account of their discussion but declined further comment.
The Redskins lured Fryar out of an eight-month retirement and signed him to a three-year, $6 million contract in August. At the time, both sides indicated it was only a one-year arrangement. But Fryar said yesterday that he has enjoyed this season despite having a smaller role than he envisioned when he signed.
"The door is still open," Fryar said. "That's something I'll have to sit down and talk to my wife and children about when the season is over. I would definitely love to stay around."
Redskins officials also have indicated that the welcome mat is out for cornerback Darrell Green, 39, to play for the club next season if he wishes.
Turner's job status beyond this season depends upon the Redskins, who have a record of 8-5 and lead the NFC East by a game, making the playoffs. Fryar said he has enjoyed playing for Turner and Redskins passing game coordinator Terry Robiskie and would like to see them return. Their status could affect his decision about whether to retire or play next season, Fryar said.
"It would have something to do with it, definitely," Fryar said. "Any time there's a change with the coaches, there are big changes. Personally, I like Norv and I like playing for him and for Coach Robiskie. . . . You never know what's going to happen at the end of the year with players and coaches. Since I've been here, people have talked about Norv not being here. I really respect him. I respect Terry. You just have to wait around and see."
Turner declined to comment.
Fryar has 19 receptions as the Redskins' third wide receiver behind starters Michael Westbrook and Albert Connell. He had his first touchdown catch as a Redskin during last Sunday's crucial 28-3 triumph over the Arizona Cardinals, and celebrated it by giving a preview of the end zone dance he performs in the Oliver Stone movie about the NFL, "Any Given Sunday." Fryar, with 803 career catches, ranks seventh on the NFL's all-time list, 11 catches behind Henry Ellard for sixth place.
"Of course I would like to have played and contributed more this year," Fryar said. "But I can only do what my role is, and my role has been minimized more so than I thought it would. Being the third receiver, I really haven't played that much. The offense has done well. The two receivers we have starting, Albert and Michael, have stayed healthy. There has not been a big need for me to go out and do big things on the field. But when given the opportunity, I feel I've been able to come through, and I'm happy with that."
Fryar said he has enjoyed this season "much more than I even thought I would. I've had a lot of fun. I've been able to develop some relationships with some guys who are great guys. Some of these guys, I'll stay in touch with for the rest of my life."
He has been the locker room leader the Redskins envisioned when they signed him. He delivered a stern lecture to punter Matt Turk about his responsibilities to his teammates when club officials suspected Turk hurt his finger playing recreational basketball in October. Fryar was one of the five Redskins players that Snyder met with last week to stress the importance of the Cardinals game.
He said that playing in Washington has worked well for his family. He and his wife Jacqueline have four children, and the family's home is in Mount Holly, N.J.
"There have been times we've struggled a little bit with it," Fryar said. "But that was one of the main components in me coming down here, the fact that it's only a couple hours from home."
His contract with the Redskins included a $600,000 signing bonus and salaries of $400,000 for this season, $2 million for next season and $3 million for the 2001 season. On Aug. 19, the day his signing was announced, Fryar said: "I don't really see it going beyond this season."
Redskins Notes: Guard Keith Sims, who hasn't practiced this week because of a sprained knee, likely will be placed on the Redskins' inactive list today for Sunday's game at Indianapolis, Turner said. Brad Badger is scheduled to start in Sims's place for the fourth time in six weeks. Tailback Stephen Davis practiced yesterday after sitting out Wednesday's practice because of a sore toe.
CAPTION: "I would definitely love to stay around," wide receiver Irving Fryar said.
CAPTION: Irving Fryar, on ground, has 19 catches, including this score vs. Arizona Sunday, as 3rd wide receiver behind starters Michael Westbrook, Albert Connell (83).