CARLISLE, Pa. -- Football is football.
Business is business.
That's the mantra of the Washington Redskins training camp in the absence of their four holdouts: first-string quarterback (Mark Rypien), their best cornerback (Darrell Green), their best offensive lineman (Jim Lachey) and their first draft pick (Desmond Howard).
The players in camp generally support the players holding out and say their absence won't hurt the team's attempt to repeat as Super Bowl champion.
"I've been around long enough to know this is business," said defensive lineman Charles Mann.
The players seem to have gotten coach Joe Gibbs' message at the start of camp that they can't worry about holdouts.
Tight end Ron Middleton said: "Like Coach Gibbs said, we're just going to have to go on. We're just going to have to do what we need to do. Let's not let that affect us or distract us."
Gibbs virtually repeated that after practice yesterday, saying: "You just have that [holdouts] happening in the NFL right now. Some people have nine, 10 guys out right now. We just have to handle this and go on and get ready to play."
The holdouts have enabled some backups, like offensive lineman Mark Adickes, to get more work.
Adickes said players will be happy to see their teammates get big bucks.
"There a few guys who are envious of what other people make, but I think for the most part, the guys just want their buddies to make as much as they possibly can," he said.
Wilber Marshall, who was lured to Washington in 1988 from the Chicago Bears by a five-year, $6 million contract that some of his teammates resented at the time, knows that Green wants to surpass his deal, and Marshall supports him.
"If Darrell feels like he's supposed to be the highest-paid [defensive player], I'm with him," he said.
The players in camp are likely to get concerned about the holdouts only if they aren't ready for the opener.
Adickes said: "I think if they miss the first regular-season game, you'd have some guys saying, 'Hey, why aren't they here, we could sure use them.' "
Gibbs said he doesn't agree that the holdouts can miss camp without a problem.
"I think a player would say that. I think a coach would have a totally different view," he said.
The Redskins are still far apart with all four holdouts, and general manager Charley Casserly hasn't talked with their agents since last week.
Meanwhile, the lucrative three-year contract -- estimated at $1.5 million a year -- that Gibbs has agreed to orally with Cooke has only whetted the holdouts' appetites.
"I think Gibbs is one of the best coaches in the NFL and should be paid accordingly," Rypien's agent, Ken Staninger, said.
Staninger says Rypien should be paid as one of the best, "if not fTC the best," quarterback.
Staninger added, "It'd be interesting to see if Joe had to go through the same channels the rest of us have to go through."
Staninger was referring to the fact that even though Gibbs negotiated with Cooke, Staninger was denied a request to meet with Cooke.
A team spokesman said that though Cooke negotiated with former players John Riggins and Joe Theismann, he leaves all contract talks with current players in Casserly's hands.
Right now, though, there's not much to talk about.
Center Jeff Bostic, who made $515,000 last year and is looking for a new deal in his option year, said: "I can't even comment on the numbers. They're farther apart than what I'm making."
NOTE: CB A. J. Johnson, filling in for Green, picked off two consecutive passes in practice by Jeff Rutledge. That prompted Gibbs to say, "I was definitely cheering today for the defense."