HERNDON, Va. -- Washington Redskins punter Ralf Mojsiejenko, who enjoys life, found his intentional safety against the Cowboys last Sunday "an interesting experience."
There he was, standing in the back of the end zone, holding thball, not punting it, while 53,804 customers and a television audience waited to see what he would do.
With the Redskins leading by only 19-13 and the ball at their 2 with 1:56 to go, the interest became almost unbearable to some of the non-customers along the Redskins' bench before Mojo stepped over the back line to make the safety safe.
"We were trying to use up all the time we could," Mojsiejenksaid later. "But maybe I did wait a little bit long."
The non-play took only five seconds (13:04 to 13:09 of the lasquarter), but that's more than three seconds longer than the ideal 1:85 it takes Mojo to get off a punt.
"It was strange," Mojsiejenko said. "Just standing there, nobodcoming after me."
When Dallas linebacker Ken Norton finally loped into the vacuuhe did not seem threatening, but it reminded some of the Redskins' elders of a funny thing that almost happened in 1978.
"Oh, yeah," said assistant general manager Bobby Mitchell"Theismann."
In the first year after George Allen, coach Jack Pardee had madJoe Theismann full-time quarterback and the Redskins were 4-0 when the Cowboys came to town. Washington led, 9-3, with only seconds left, but they were backed deep. Not as deep as they were Sunday, after Norton's 12-yard sack of Stan Humphries on third down, but deep.
Pardee ordered the intentional safety, to kill the remaining threseconds on the clock. But the ebullient, sometimes theatrical Theismann could not merely squat with the ball. He pranced fetchingly about in the end zone, the ball cocked in his pitching hand, until Cowboys defensive tackle Randy White became cross and chased him across the back line.
The Redskins prevailed, 9-5. But had Theismann dropped thball, or White knocked it from his hand and a Cowboy covered it, Dallas would have had but to kick the extra point to win, 10-9.
Even after the clock ran out -- it did while Theismann wacavorting -- the game could have been lost. It is not over until the final play is completed. Joe was killing time after there wasn't any.
The Redskins yesterday signed defensive back Johnny Thomaswhom they drafted from Baylor in 1987. A track star, Thomas showed promise before a serious knee injury put him in a cast after four games of 1988.
Thomas had been in 13 games with San Diego last season.