Ed Rubbert, a 6-foot-5 quarterback from the University of Louisville, said he never thought he'd wind up wearing a Washington Redskins uniform again this season after being cut by the team nearly a month ago. But Rubbert is one of the players who has agreed to cross the National Football League Players' Association picket line and play for the Redskins for as long as there's a strike.

Rubbert has read comments from union members around the NFL, some of them saying in very certain terms that replacement players might be met with physical violence if they try to cross the picket lines.

"I know the guys won't understand," he said. "But I'm just trying to make the best of a tough situation. It's a tough thing. It will be hard to cross the picket line. But I'm out of work and this is my best opportunity at working.

"When I signed the $1,000 deal {strike option contract} when I got cut, I never thought it would really mean anything. I thought they'd solve it by now and not even have a strike. Like I said, it's very tough to be going against ex-teammates like this. It's just a very difficult thing. I feel bad about it to begin with. It's a situation I don't even want to be in. It's not ideal. It's not the way I thought I would get a chance. But it's a chance to make money . . ."

Rubbert said he and his agent, Ferrell Elliott of Louisville, thought this would be his best opportunity to get to play in the NFL. He also said the Redskins made him no commitment about what will happen to him when the strike is over.

When told union executive director Gene Upshaw had said earlier in the day that the picket-crossers would "never play in the NFL" after the strike is resolved, Rubbert said, "I didn't think about that . . . It's a point that I guess will come up."

Rubbert said he tries to "stay clear" of labor-management issues in most cases. "At camp when that stuff came up . . . well, I was just trying to make the team," he said.

In four years at Louisville, Rubbert played for teams that compiled a 10-34 record. He holds more than 10 passing records at the school, and his best season came as a sophomore when he completed 184 of 362 passes, including 18 touchdowns and 28 interceptions. Arm strength is supposed to be his biggest asset. But he had very little chance of making the Redskins, until this strike.

He went home to New City, N.Y. -- about a 30 minutes north of New York City -- and began working out, whenever the weather would allow, in his back yard or down the road at Clarkstown North High School.

"I've been throwing to friends or my brother, and trying to stay in shape . . . I had an idea of going to Canada for a while. Calgary was a possibility. But we {he and his agent} held off for a while to see what would happen with the strike."