In time, the replacement Washington Redskins probably will become little more than a blip on this city's sports scene. But what a fascinating blip it will be.

Yes, the replacements were what many regard as the lowest form of labor relations life: strike breakers.

However, on the night of Monday, Oct. 19, 1987, they defined the term "hot." They were new. They were now. They won.

"The Dallas game," safety Skip Lane recalled. "That was it. That was fabulous."

"The last two minutes of the game, everything seemed like it was in slow motion," safety Danny Burmeister said. "Two minutes seemed like three hours. I remember each play. I remember watching {Cowboys quarterback} Danny White walking up to the line with seven seconds left and knowing that all that stood between winning and losing was you and 10 other guys. It's something I'll never forget."

White's eight-yard pass on fourth down bounced out of wide receiver Kelvin Edwards' hands at the Redskins 5-yard line. The scoreboard read: Washington 13, Dallas 7.

When the final gun sounded, Washington players hoisted Coach Joe Gibbs onto their shoulders and carried him off the field.

Then, suddenly, it was all over. By the end of Tuesday, Oct. 20, the replacement Redskins were history.

Some of the players have gone on to become regular Redskins. The rest have scattered.

"I think everyone pretty much went their separate ways," said Burmeister, a native and current resident of Clifton, Va., who said he has seen or spoken to only three of his former teammates since the strike ended. "And, you know, I think it was sad when we all went our separate ways that week."

All have had to make adjustments since then. Those who have remained Redskins have had to learn how to live with the players whose jobs they took. Those who have not have had to re-learn how to live with the jobs or lives they left.

Either way, it hasn't been easy.

"I don't think it'll ever be forgotten," said tight end Joe Caravello, one of 17 replacement players initially retained. That group eventually was paired to 12 -- three of whom are on the active roster, nine on the injured reserve list.

"I feel comfortable around here now," said Caravello, who played in 11 regular season games. "{But} it took a little while . . . Some guys it took four or five weeks. Some guys never did {come around}."

Said Lane, who returned to his job as a commercial real estate broker in Norwalk, Conn: "{After the strike ended}, I blew off for a week, went down South. After that I came back here, but I wasn't really here. After about two weeks the boss came up to me and said, 'Skip, are you going to do any work here this year?' I mean there was paper stacked up all over my desk. I guess I just wasn't with it, you know?

"It was the combination the partying, people congratulating us after the Monday Night game, and just the whole experience. I didn't realize what it had done to me psychologically. It really screwed me up."

Running back Lionel Vital, who was the Redskins' leading rusher until George Rogers gained 134 yards against the St. Louis Cardinals on Dec. 6 -- Washington's seventh game after the strike ended -- bounced around the NFL trying to find an opportunity to add to his totals of 80 carries and 346 yards.

"I was in Denver one week, Tampa one week, Buffalo one week," said Vital, who was with the Redskins for two weeks after the strike before being released but ended up as their third-leading rusher for the season. "Everybody kept saying, 'Monday we're going to sign you.' One of them {Buffalo} finally did. And because a couple of them ended up bidding for me, it all worked out for the best."

For Vital, that remains to be seen. When he signed with the Bills before the season ended, it appears he signed away his right to Redskins playoff money.

Players who played in all three replacement games and did not sign with other teams after the strike will receive $27,000 if the Redskins defeat Denver in Super Bowl XXII, $18,000 if they lose. Players who played in the three replacement games and then signed future contracts for the 1988 season also will receive 1987 playoff money.

However, because he never was placed on the Bills' active roster in 1987, Vital continues to have hope. His apparent supporters and detractors on this issue are not who you may think they are.

Caravello, who will receive a full playoff share ($64,000 if the Redskins win, $32,000 if they lose) because he was on the active roster for more than seven games, said he had no problem with Vital receiving nothing. "That's fair, because he knows how to read," Caravello said. "He could have read the book {the 1982 collective bargaining agreement}, figured out what it said, made a decision -- is it worth signing with a team, risk losing all that money, or should I wait."

However, defensive tackle Dean Hamel, one of the regular Redskins, said he hoped something would be worked out. (On the second day of the strike Hamel, who used to be Vital's roommate, said to "Tell him {Vital} he can go to hell," when told Vital had said their friendship would not be affected by his decision to cross the picket line.)

"I think it was a little unfair," Hamel said. "He did a helluva job here, he had 356 yards or whatever, led our team almost the first couple of games."

Redskins General Manager Bobby Beathard declined to comment on the situation.

As for Hamel's friendship with Vital, it turns out Vital had been correct in September.

"Things change," Hamel said. "He's called me, I've called him. He stayed at my house one night after the strike was over. There was nothing wrong with Lionel Vital. Me and him have been friends for a long time, and we're still going to be friends."

Said Vital: "I knew he had to act it out, play his role. I never had any problems with that."

Not that any of the replacement Redskins seemed to have any problems with anything.

"We were just looking for a chance to play," said quarterback Ed Rubbert.

They got much more than they were looking for. So did Washington football fans.

"I think people will always remember the scabs," Lane said. " . . . It was history in the making, if for nothing else how quickly they fielded teams. To be able to do that in two weeks was incredible and with the Redskins, a real tribute to their organization and their people. I think it showed that there really isn't that large of a difference in the level of play. I mean there were some great players out there. I think it showed that the bottom 50 percent of them and the top 50 percent of us are pretty interchangeable.

Does this mean we haven't seen the last of Skip Lane?

"No, no," he said with a laugh. "It's time to make an honest living."