Redskins try to sell White on tradition Free agent's visit is plain, simple


As the Reggie White Derby continues to take more twists and turns than a soap opera, the New York Jets and the Washington Redskins illustrated their different approaches in wooing the Pro Bowl defensive lineman yesterday.

Less than 24 hours after White said in New York that the Jets would be more attractive if they had Boomer Esiason at quarterback, the Jets -- who wined and dined White at a five-star restaurant and took him to a New York Knicks game during his visit -- made a trade with the Cincinnati Bengals for Esiason.

Meanwhile, the Redskins brought the Philadelphia Eagles defensive lineman to Redskin Park for a visit yesterday with no wining and dining -- except for some catered food from the hotel that supplies the coaches meals during the season -- and tried their best to keep his visit a secret.

White and his agent, Jimmy Sexton, said in New York on Tuesday he probably wouldn't make any more visits until after next week's owners meetings and then caught a flight to Washington yesterday morning.

The Redskins wouldn't even officially confirm White was in their building while he was getting the sales pitch from Redskins officials.

A club official called it a "businesslike approach," but the real reason the Redskins tried to downplay his visit might be that they fear they'll be outbid for him.

With a salary cap looming next year, the Redskins will have difficulty going over $3 million a year for White -- a figure that the Jets, Cleveland Browns and Green Bay Packers seem ready to top.

Their only hope is that White will take less money to play for them because of their winning tradition.

Of the six teams White has visited, the Redskins are the only one that made the playoffs last year, and they stressed he has the best chance of winning in Washington despite coach Joe Gibbs' recent resignation.

The Washington delegation included players, owner Jack Kent Cooke, coach Richie Petitbon and general manager Charley Casserly.

White said the Washington visit ended his tour and that he'll go home and "sleep for at least a week," talk to his wife and make a decision soon.

Meanwhile, Eagles owner Norman Braman, in his first comments since White began his tour, all but slammed the door on White's return, saying he would not become a prisoner of White's assessment of the team's dedication to winning.

"I have no intention of submitting myself to anyone's test -- so I guess I fail the criteria that Reggie has placed on me," Braman said.

While the Redskins wait for White to make up his mind, they have yet to sign a free agent, but are still shopping. They plan to bring Phoenix Cardinals linebacker Tyrone Stowe in tomorrow and have an eye on Los Angeles Raiders running back Marcus Allen.

Knight-Ridder News Service contributed to this article.

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