In what has become an annual event, the Washington Redskins yesterday told quarterback Babe Laufenberg he no longer fits into their plans and released him.

The well-traveled Laufenberg, who now has been cut three times in three years by the Redskins, was let go as the team reached a mandatory 55-player roster. Veteran tight end Glenn Dennison and former replacement wide receiver and kick returner Ted Wilson were the only other players who were released.

"I'm running out of options," Laufenberg said yesterday by telephone from his Falls Church home. "As they say, I have one foot on the banana peel and the other foot in the grave, and I didn't even get to eat the banana."

Six other players were placed on injured reserve. Three are veterans: linebacker Anthony Copeland (knee surgery), guard Rick Kehr (knee) and tackle Dan McQuaid (ankle). The other three are ex-replacement players: defensive tackle Dan Benish (elbow), offensive tackle Mark Carlson (back) and safety Charles Jackson (calf).

Of those six, Kehr, McQuaid, Benish and Carlson practiced with the team last week. A Redskins spokesman said Benish was injured in the Oct. 19 Dallas game, Carlson was injured in practice before the Dallas game, Kehr has chronic knee problems and McQuaid is still bothered by a twisted left ankle he suffered July 27.

Because Wilson was the only replacement player given his outright release, the Redskins' 55-man roster now includes 10 members of their undefeated replacement team: wide receiver Anthony Allen, offensive guard Darrick Brilz, tight end Joe Caravello, center Eric Coyle, safety Steve Gage, running back Tim Jessie, tight end Craig McEwen, punt returner Derrick Shepard, running back Lionel Vital and cornerback Dennis Woodberry.

Laufenberg said he received a call from Coach Joe Gibbs on Monday night telling him he was going to be released. That hardly was shocking news.

Laufenberg was signed by the Redskins Sept. 14 as a backup to Doug Williams after starter Jay Schroeder's right shoulder was sprained in the season opener. Laufenberg did not play in the Atlanta game the following week, and then, two days later, the NFL players went on strike. Because Schroeder was able to play this past Sunday after the strikers returned, Laufenberg was not activated for the Redskins-New York Jets game.

"When I signed, I knew the players were going to go on strike," Laufenberg said. "I also knew that by the time the strike was finished, Jay would be healthy. But, in the back of my mind, I still wonder. You never know what might have happened if there had been no strike and if Doug Williams had sprained an ankle or something. You never want anyone to get injured, but it's clear that because of the strike, Doug lost a chance to play and I also lost any chance I had to play."

So, Laufenberg remains the most popular Redskin to never play a regular-season down with the team. He gained a reputation for directing the Redskins to thrilling come-from-behind wins in preseason games at RFK Stadium, but either was cut, or stashed on injured reserve, before the season began or never played if he was on the regular-season roster.

In the last three seasons, Laufenberg also has played for and been cut by San Diego, New Orleans and Kansas City. With the Saints last season, he finally played in his first regular-season game. "They had me run out the clock," he said. "I was tempted to say I missed the signals and throw a pass, but I didn't do it." Thus Laufenberg still never has thrown a pass in the NFL.

The strike apparently cost Dennison any chance he had of sticking with the Redskins. Obtained in a trade with New England late in training camp, Dennison knew he would lose his starting job when H-back Clint Didier got healthy. But he didn't expect to lose the backup spot to Craig McEwen, whom Dennison beat out in training camp but came back as a strike replacement.

"They really didn't have an explanation for me on that," Dennison said yesterday. "Craig was playing and having some good games while I was out on strike. When I came back, I had been demoted. I was definitely a victim of the strike, no doubt about that. If I knew then what I know now, I would have never left {on strike}."

Laufenberg, who said he lost $44,000 during the strike and made $22,000 by being paid for two games, said he would not have crossed the players' picket line had he not been on a team and been available to play.

"I had teams contact me before I signed with the Redskins and I told them I couldn't foresee doing it," he said. "You could never say never, but I don't think I would have done it."

Mark Murphy, assistant executive director of the NFL Players Association, said the union would be examining the circumstances behind Laufenberg's release.

"Babe being released concerns us," Murphy said. "He took a very active role in the strike and it appears that may certainly have been a factor {in the Redskins' decision}."

However, Murphy conceded that a correlation between Laufenberg's union activities and his release would be "difficult" to prove.

Laufenberg's career has been plagued by "being in the wrong place at the wrong time," he said. Coming out of high school in Southern California, Laufenberg went to Stanford. There was John Elway. He transferred to Missouri. There was Phil Bradley.

So Laufenberg moved on again, to Indiana University, where he finally got to play and set all kinds of school records. The Redskins selected him with their sixth pick in the 1983 draft. (Their seventh-rounder was USFL-committed Kelvin Bryant.)

Laufenberg was the Redskins' third-string quarterback in 1983, then spent the entire 1984 season on injured reserve. In 1985, he and Schroeder were locked in a preseason battle for the No. 2 job behind Joe Theismann, a battle won by Schroeder. Laufenberg was released that summer, but returned in November to back up Schroeder after Theismann broke his leg. Laufenberg returned to the Redskins' training camp in 1986, but was released when the Redskins obtained Williams and drafted Mark Rypien.

Yesterday, unemployed once again, Laufenberg said he wasn't certain what he would do next. "I might go fishing. The trout season ends Oct. 31 in California. I'll still work out and stay in shape. You never know what might happen."

And if the Redskins call again, will he come back?

"Yeah," Laufenberg said. "Yeah, I would. I guess there would be no reason not to."