The pickets seemed most worried that the army of Houston unknowns might actually join their picket line. "We're not even going to ask these rookies to come out," said Curry. "We wouldn't know what to do with them." Not that any of the rookies seemed likely to leave on his own accord. As free agent Richard Wilkins put it, "If I walk out, the Oilers will just say, 'Walk on.' "
By the end of the week attention was focusing on the training camps of the Miami Dolphins and the College All-Stars, who are scheduled to play in Chicago on July 26. If the game cannot be played—and the veterans insist that, one way or another, it will not be played without a contract settlement—the owners will feel the pressure that the strike is supposed to exert. Dolphin rookies, however, are having a hard time forgetting that seven current Miami veterans, including Player Representative Doug Swift, made the squad as rookies during the 1970 player strike. Even several veteran Dolphin players are considering reporting to camp. Tight End Jim Mandich said he was quitting the union and crossing the picket line no matter what. Then it was revealed that he was not a dues-paying member of the union in the first place. "We've written out a check to refund the dues he didn't pay," said Garvey, compounding the Alice in Wonderland confusion.
If the impasse continues, future issues of the players' publication, The Audible, may introduce a cartoon figure named Willie Walk-a-Picket. Garvey more or less created Willie himself. "It's one thing to talk about picketing," he said, "and another to do it. That was the important thing about this first week. We didn't know if Willie could or would walk. But he did."