John McDaniel still isn't exactly certain how he finally landed on the Redskin roster four weeks ago. He only knows that 33-yard touchdown pass he caught Sunday against the Jets "made me kind of tingle all over."

That probably was the same sort of feeling general manager Bobby Beathard had the day he obtained McDaniel from the Kansas City Chiefs for the paltry price of a tenth round draft choice in 1979.

That is how the deal will be listed in the record books, but the wheeling and dealing it took to get McDaniel from the Cincinnati roster, to Kansas City's and back on Washington's in the space of 24 hours needs several more paragraphs of explanation.

First a bit of background, McDaniel was the Bengals' eighth round draft choice in 1974 out of tiny Lincoln College in Jefferson City, Mo., the same school that produced Lemar Parrish.

For four years he played in Cincinnati, mostly as a back-up and, by his own description "a killer on the special teams." He caught 25 passes, averaging 18 yards a catch, but never cracked the starting lineup.

McDaniel, now 27, went to Bengal management in the offseason and politely asked them to trade him if they did not plan to play him regularly. "The first two years I could accept it," he said yesterday, "but the last two years were kind of frustrating."

The Bengals had discussions about McDaniels with several teams during the summer, inlcuding the Redskins. They tried for weeks to consummate a trade for him, to no avail, and McDaniel seemed destined for another year of reserve duty behind Bengal all-pro Isaac Curtis.

In Cincinnati's final preseason game, quarterback Ken Anderson and running back Lemuel Elliot suffered injuries. The Bengals did not want to lose them for the season on the injured reserve list. "So they kept them on the roster and I got caught in the numbers game," said McDaniel, who was cut.

Now for the intrigue.

The Redskins immediately put in a claim for McDaniel, knowing full well their chances of getting him were minimal. Through the NFL, grapevine, they also discovered that another team did indeed, plan to claim him off the waiver list.

Beathard then asked the Kansas City Chiefs, the team with the first crack at the waiver list, to make room on their roster for McDaniel, and then trade him to Washington.

Five minutes before the final deadline to make that sort of move, the Chiefs called Beathard and told him they had decided not to claim McDaniel. Three minutes later, they called back to say they would.

"The scary part was wondering if Kansas City knew what kind of guy McDaniel was," Beathard said yesterday. "I was afraid they'd want to keep him. It really was a relief when the trade was completed.

"We had scouted him quite a bit during the preseason, and he played very well. A couple of years ago he had a game against Oakland where he caught nine passes for 201 yards (a Bengel club record). We thought of all the guys on the waiver list last summer, he was the one class player."

McDaniel has done nothing to change that opinion. Redskin coach Jack Pardee said yesterday McDaniel will probably start at wide receiver against the Cowboys in place of the injured Danny Buggs.

"We were a little apprehensive of the unknown when we first got him," Pardee said. "What was wrong with him, why hadn't he played? But we haven't found anything wrong. He's a worker. He practices hard, does everything we ask and he makes the clutch catch.

"He'll catch the ball as long as the quarterback wants to throw it during the week. And that catch he made Sunday (for the touchdown) was a major league catch.

"During the season, about the only thing I made time for is football," McDaniel said. "Now I'm not a hermit, I like to go out every once in awhile. But I'm pretty much wrapped up in taking care of the game.

"I'm single, and I really don't know too many people yet in this area. So basically, I just want to play, do well and go home. I can do without all the bright lights and glamour."

But hed like to keep those tingles coming.