The Washington Federals cut their roster from 68 to 56 today, and among those released were a number of former NFL players.

Wide receiver Zion McKinney, who appeared in 10 games with the Redskins in 1980 and was cut the following year, quarterback Mike Nott, who played a year with the Kansas City Chiefs and three in the Canadian Football League, and running back Don Testerman, who played with the Seattle Seahawks, Redskins and Miami Dolphins, were released early this morning.

Mike Faulkiner, Federals director of player personnel, said that while McKinney had appeared promising early in camp, other receivers, especially Reggie Smith and Walker Lee, had improved while McKinney had not.

Although Nott performed well in Washington's preseason game against the Tampa Bay Bandits Saturday night--he completed four of nine passes--General Manager Dick Myers said, "We felt there was no way he could beat out (Kim) McQuilken and (Mike) Hohensee, and we wanted to look more at (Chris) Garrity."

The Federals attempted to make a trade for Nott, unsuccessfully.

"To be honest, a lot of the guys are here because they couldn't make it in the NFL," said Faulkiner. "So it's pretty hard to make a deal after three weeks of camp, because the other guy has got to figure, 'Why should he make it here if he couldn't make it there?' "

Others released by the Federals were: defensive tackle Mike Barker of Grambling, center Joe Bock of Virginia, tackle Larry Brown of Miami, wide receiver Larry Franklin of Jackson State, defensive back Steve Gerdon of Richmond, wide receiver Tony Howard and running back Arrington Jones of Winston-Salem, linebacker Mike Lemon of Maryland, and defensive end Angelo Wells of Morgan State.

The Federals also announced the signing of their 20th-round draft choice, East Carolina's Tom Carnes. Carnes, 6-feet-5, 270 pounds, is the sixth of 24 open draft choices signed by the Federals.