Whisper Room

Before Bobby Mitchell retired as assistant general manager from the Redskins, he did something he'd never done in his previous 41 seasons: he created controversy. Will the bad feelings linger?

We hear owner Dan Snyder was upset with Mitchell for his comments about his No. 49 jersey and other comments critical of Snyder's management style. Mitchell is no fan of what's going on at Redskins Park, once saying the Redskins have gone from a football team that did some marketing to a marketing team that plays some football.

Snyder had words with Mitchell, but it appears the Redskins will try to kiss and make up with their longtime employee. We can't blame Mitchell for feeling slighted even at the end: only the PR staff got together and did anything for him, buying him a cake and balloons and having a party. The other side of the building did nothing.

But now we hear the Redskins plan to honor Mitchell during the home opener, likely along with Darrell Green.

. . . The Redskins lost in their battle with the Virginia legislature regarding the workman's compensation issues. They never really had a chance since all this stuff is covered in the NFL's collective bargaining agreement.

But, as one person at Redskins Park said, they lost the battle but they might have won the war. Here's why: Gene Upshaw will be forced to bring up this issue during the next CBA sessions.

. . . Still not sure what to make of the front office, but we hear that Vinny Cerrato has no desire to be a GM. His wife is a doctor in Chicago, where Cerrato also likes to live. And he's told people that he likes to go on the road and scout talent. Also, in his current role, he won't be the first guy to get blamed by Snyder, who is the real GM, for better or worse.

''Vinny has the cushiest job in town,'' one Redskins source said.

. . . Talks with defensive tackle Daryl Gardener might be at a standstill, but it's no secret that Gardener still wants to remain in Washington. This week he returned to Redskins Park, where he still has all his ''stuff'' as one team source said. And at least one of Gardener's cars remains parked at Redskins Park.

It's a risk to re-sign Gardener, but every other team knows he's a risk, too. Therefore, he'll probably be forced to sign an incentive-laden contract whereever he goes, lowering the risk. Unless some team is willing to give him a long-term deal, the Redskins still have the upper hand.

. . . Ex-Redskins defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis is a hit in Cincinnati, where he's dropping the puck at minor league hockey games. Writers there have dubbed it Marvin Mania.

. . . Redskins coaches and front office personnel have been in meetings most of the week evaluating free agents. One thing's for certain: it's doubtful any ex-Gators will return. Danny Wuerffel is not good enough and too injury-prone to be anything more than a coach and Shane Matthews ''hates Spurrier's guts'' one team source said. So he won't be back, either. And receiver Chris Doering isn't expected to return, either.

Talk is, the Redskins would like add one receiver in free agency and another in the draft. Those two, coupled with Rod Gardner, Cliff Russell and Darnerian McCants, would round out the top five. Yes, the preliminary list doesn't include Derrius Thompson. But, remember, it's a preliminary list.

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