Chapter 3, Page 86

Nor was that all. Allen got a limousine and chauffeur, a virtually unlimited expense account, permission to keep all revenue from his TV and radio shows, and expenses for visiting his family in California until they could move east and for dental trips to the West Coast.

Shortly afterward, Allen even convinced Williams and the team's directors to invest nearly $1 million in a new practice facility in the Virginia suburbs, not far from Dulles International Airport. It was a state-of-the-art operation, with two practice fields, one with artificial turf so the team could work out even in bad weather. It was surrounded on three sides by dense woods, the better to prevent opponents from spying on his team (as Allen himself had been accused of doing before his Rams teams played the Dallas Cowboys). The new Redskin Park came with a complete workout area, basketball and racquetball courts, a carpeted locker room, the finest training room in the league, and a complex that included classrooms and offices for the coaching staff and players — as well as a massive office overlooking the practice field for the head coach.

Not long after construction began on the project, Williams acknowledged that "when Coach Allen came to Washington, we agreed we had an unlimited budget. He's already exceeded it."

Allen wasted little time reshaping his team. Less than three weeks after taking the job, he sent fourth-round and eighth-round draft choices and linebacker Tom Roussel to the New Orleans Saints. In return he got veteran quarterback Billy Kilmer, who was to back up Jurgensen. Though Kilmer's teams never had beaten the Rams, they had always played well, and Kilmer had a knack for moving his offense against Allen's complex defensive schemes. But Kilmer had become expendable in New Orleans after the Saints made it known that they would use their No. 1 choice in the 1971 draft to pick quarterback Archie Manning, the Heisman Trophy winner from Ole Miss.

"Three teams were interested in me," Kilmer said, "and I wanted to go to Lou Saban in Denver. That seemed the best chance to play right away. I was at Hialeah watching a friend of mine's horse run when I got two phone messages, from Dave Brady [who covered the Redskins for The Washington Post] and J.D. Roberts [the Saints' new head coach]. Right then I knew I'd been traded. I figured I'd never play there, that I'd never beat out Jurgy . . ."

On draft day the following week, Kilmer phoned Allen and told him that he thought he still could be a starting quarterback somewhere in the league. He asked Allen to trade him. But Allen had no such intention — though he was very much in his wheeler-dealer mode that memorable day.

Page 86 | Next Page: 87

Other Pages in Chapter 3:
79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102, 103, 104, 105, 106, 107, 108, 109, 110, 111, 112

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Names, Numbers
Trivia Quiz

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