How about Washington itself, as a place to live and work?
"I get lost whenever I go there," he laughs, still the country boy at one level. "There's something about streets that go in circles...." He stretches his right leg and winces slightly. A hamstring pulled two weeks earlier in practice has still not fully healed, and he will miss the second preseason game as he missed the first. George Allen is gentle with expensive fullbacks, particularly when they have not yet paid for themselves.
Jean Fugett, too, is slightly injured. "I broke a small bone in my wrist against the Falcons," he says, "but it's nothing much. I'll probably play tonight. I hope so, because it's Baltimore and that's my hometown." He smiles wide and warm at the thought. "This is only my fifth year in the game but I've learned that there's no Utopia in a football situation. Still, I wanted out of Dallas and I wanted to get back to where I could set down some roots, both for myself and my family. I wasn't making enough with the Cowboys to come back to Baltimore during the off-season. Now I'm right next door."
Already the roots are going down: during the off-season Fugett, who graduated from Amherst and has ambitions in journalism, worked for The Washington Post as a straight news reporter covering Maryland. During his college summers he had interned on the Baltimore Sun, and in Dallas he set up a black news program for a local radio station. "I want to communicate with black kids, and I want to do it through the written word," he says. "But it's tough. They don't read much, mainly watch TV for news. All that violence. But I'm going to try it. I've got so much to tell them about what it's like being a black kid growing up in this world."
Yes, but what can Fugett give the Washington Redskins before he shifts gears from cleats to words?
"Well," he says, "I can play inside or out. Tom Landry put me in motion last year and I caught a lot of passes. I think that the tight end position is evolving more rapidly than most others in modern football. The Ditka days of brute strength and sheer aggression are over. Sure, you've still got to be a good blocker, and I'm at least average. But I'm also quick and, I hope, fairly intelligent. I can wait a step to see where a cornerback or linebacker is heading and still get over there and cut him down, or break past him and fly if it's a pass play." He grins at the thought, and the smile itself seems to fly. "Shucks," he says, "I weigh 225 and I'm still growing, growing, growing!"
So is Quarterback Pat Sullivan, or so he hopes. At an even 6' and 195 pounds, he is somewhat small for a quarterback of the future, but he quickly points out that neither Bob Griese nor Fran Tarkenton is exactly a giant. "I hope to grow in the area of smarts," he says. "That's why I'm glad it worked out this way. Not only does Washington have a fine organization, but Billy Kilmer is one of the smartest quarterbacks going. If I have to learn from the sidelines, this is a great place to do it. Sure, you'd love to play every week, every offensive series. But quarterbacks are slow growers, and you have to be patient. I've got a strong arm and I can run, and I think I've already got a start toward intelligence on the field. And I know I've got plenty of patience."
That is a quality people need if they wish to spend much time in the domain of George Allen. Right now, shortly before the buses leave for the Baltimore game, Allen is in his office considering Randy Johnson's transgression, spread before him in the morning paper.
"Randy will get his...." He pauses and smiles, looking in the instant like Ronald Reagan as The Gipper. "Will get his chance," he concludes. "He'd better be prepared. You know, you can often learn a lot more about a man off the field than you can on. Temperament is very important to me. Still, let's say this about Randy: I have confidence in him." The Gipper's smile turns cryptic. Then another problem knocks gently, almost timidly, at the door. Moses Denson enters.
"Coach," he begins, "you said at the meeting for any player who's got an injury who don't think he should play tonight to come to you...."