If you've ever lost or been denied a job you really liked, you have some idea of how Curtis Jordan felt yesterday.

"We all have disappointments," said Jordan, who was released Monday by the Redskins. "And you say, well, he had 11 years in the pros. But it was four years in college before that, three years in high school before that, three years in junior high school before that, and little league before that.

"It's something I've been doing since I was 9 or 10 years old. It's kind of become like brushing my teeth every day. You think you're prepared for it {release}, but it's still a shock. As long as I've played, it's still a kick in the teeth. And it's tough to accept."

Making it even tougher was his knowledge deep down inside that when Monday came, he was no longer going to be a Redskin.

As the final cut day approached, his heart said yes -- he would be able to make the team and play one more year, get one more chance at the New York Giants. His head, however, said no way. The Redskins surely would have no use for a 33-year-old free safety who did not play special teams and, by his own admission, had "lost that half-step that's so critical now because it's such a high-speed league.

"I probably should have retired instead of going through this," he said. "I gave considerable thought to retiring during the offseason. I'd had a good year. But that Giants game {'86 NFC championship} brought me back -- I mean to get that close, I really thought we had a shot at it this year. That, and I'm a fighter. I never said die. I guess this is what happens when you have that attitude.

"I feel like they had made up their minds since minicamp. I could see the signs early on in training camp and it really became evident during the last couple of weeks. There was no battle between me and Todd {Bowles}. It was just a matter of whether he played well. I just couldn't bring myself to quit."

Still, he insisted there are no hard feelings. "Hey, I've had 11 years, two Super Bowls, numerous playoffs. I've played with the worst team in the league {Jordan was the last active member of the original Tampa Bay Buccaneers}. I've seen and done the whole spectrum. I think for a guy like my good friend Babe {Laufenberg, released for the fifth time in his career last Monday by the Kansas City Chiefs}, it must be much more frustrating, to know you have the talent, but never get a chance to show you can do it."

"I do want to say this," he added. "If there was anybody I'd want to take my job, it would be Todd Bowles. I like him. I respect him. I think he'll become a great free safety."

Jordan said he also had admiration for Redskins Coach Joe Gibbs, the organization and the fans. "I couldn't have played in a better place, or for a better team," he said. "I think Joe respected me and I respect Joe and the whole staff. I think they're the best one in the league. I just wished they had talked to me about it. That might have swung me closer to retiring."

But, as Jordan said, "Coaches aren't big on letting players know where they stand. It's like that on any team in the league. The NFL is a perpetual cycle. Years from now it will be Russ Grimm, Joe Jacoby, Jay Schroeder and Todd Bowles."

Monday, it was Curtis Jordan.

"You find out who your good friends are real fast," he said. "Fifteen or 20 of the guys stopped by to see me. It was like a wake, as if there had been a death in the family."

Jordan said he will continue to root for his friends, but that he doesn't think he'll be able to watch them. "No way," he said. "I don't know when I'll be able to watch. I guess I'll have to find something else to do on Sunday afternoon -- unless somebody picks me up."

Jordan said he still could play one more year, although he admits it's unlikely.

So, what now? Jordan has business interests in this area and back home in western Texas. "I'm fortunate. I've got a lot of things going for me. I've got a life after football. But it will be boring. Compared to playing, it'll be very boring."

And not just for Jordan.

"You're going to have pretty mundane coverage from now on. All of the mouths are gone. I think Joe {Gibbs} will like that," Jordan said. "But I think Joe kind of liked my off-the-wall style -- it kept him on his toes, anyway."