WASHINGTON -- By his own admission 'broke and bored,' John Riggins was 'back' Thursday for the Washington Redskins three-day mini-camp.
Riggins walked out of training camp last July 20 and the club placed him on the 'retired-left camp' list. He filed a grievance through the NFL Players' Association, which will be heard next week by an arbitrator, but returned Thursday saying he wants to play football.
'I'm bored, broke and back,' said Riggins, after standing around watching Thursday's workouts. 'It's a coincidence that the hearing is next week. But I figured the Redskins could pay for my trip to the mini-camp and I could just stay over. The trip's free that way.'
Riggins said his return doesn't change the grievance. But he also said he would walk out again, only sooner, if he had it to do over.
'If I left a day earlier, I couldn't have been classed as leaving camp,' he said. 'Now, I just want to play football again.
'What did I miss most? Besides the money? I guess I missed the little kiddie atmosphere. I'd have to grow up if I quit football. Actually, all the coyotes had the mange and the mules ran off so I had to do something.
'The money I can make here (about $350,000 annually) is so much better than what I was doing in Kansas... spending money. I got a 'B' in my money management class (at Kansas Universtiy), but then I didn't have any to manage.'
Riggins spent the past 11 months at his home in Lawrence, Kan., farming and going to school. But he also spent the time working out to stay in shape. He reported Thursday at 234 pounds, only a few pounds over his playing weight.
'I guess the weight lifting I did helped me put some weight on,' he said. 'I'll tell you for sure, I've never been in this good a condition at this stage of the year in my career. I just got tired of running up and down the field by myself. I wanted some company, so I came back.'
Riggins said he did not want to run plays with the club Thursday because it was his first day with new Redskins Coach Joe Gibb's system. Gibbs had visited Riggins in Kansas, but there had been no discussion of their playbook.
'I'm out here tyring to act like a young kid, which I'm not, and it's not easy,' said Riggins who will be 32 in August. 'I can't do that and learn the plays, too. I thought about using something to cover up my gray hairs, but I skipped that.'
The Redskins will work Friday and Saturday in their final mini-camp before reporting to training camp at Carlisle, Pa., July 13.