Safety Clarence Vaughn cleared waivers and returned to the Washington Redskins yesterday, and cornerback Alvoid Mays, also unclaimed, likely will return as well.

But on another day of comings and goings at Redskin Park, a day when the team put its defensive secondary back together and formed what amounted to an informal developmental practice squad, the surprising news was that tight end Terry Orr was going to be brought back.

He had been told as much Sunday night during a one-on-one session with Coach Joe Gibbs, who advised him, in part, "to lie low and let us clear these things up."

Gibbs had never left any doubt about wanting Orr back. He gives them quality depth at both tight end and H-back, is an outstanding special teams player and handles himself on and off the field the way Gibbs wants his players to act.

But on Monday, when the Redskins trimmed to 47 players, they left themselves short in the secondary and defensive line and never even hinted of Orr returning. Instead, they talked about bringing back a defensive lineman and a defensive back.

All parts of their strategy never were made clear because, as one team official said: "A lot of things are in flux. But the one thing we won't do is advertise our moves to the rest of the league."

Their strategy had been simple:

Since none of their 10 offensive linemen were likely to clear waivers, all were protected. In doing so, they gambled that Vaughn, Orr and Mays would go unclaimed and be available for re-signing when the 24-hour waiver period expired.

"People talk about a gamble," General Manager Charley Casserly said, "but it may not have been that much of one. Only 17 {NFL} players were picked up last year and that's a very small percentage of all the players who are out there. You really have to have conviction to take a chance on a guy and give up one you've had the entire camp."

As it turned out, he was right. Only defensive lineman Pat Swoopes failed to clear waivers -- claimed by New Orleans, which had lost him as a Plan B free agent. The Redskins would have re-signed him only if Fred Stokes has more problems with his left shoulder. Now if Stokes can't play, Casserly likely will bring back Alonzo Mitz, who did clear waivers.

The Redskins enter Sunday's opener against Phoenix at RFK Stadium with only six defensive linemen. But Plan B signee Jumpy Geathers, who is recovering from knee surgery, will return to practice next week, and may be able to play in about a month.

Only three moves were announced yesterday. Vaughn, rookie linebacker Jon Leverenz and wide receiver Stephen Hobbs were claimed off waivers a day after being cut.

To make room for them on the 47-man roster, offensive linemen Ray Brown (knee) and Mo Elewonibi (knee) and quarterback Jeff Rutledge (shoulder) were placed on injured reserve. They can practice, but not play before Week 5.

Hobbs and Leverenz will be on the 47-man roster for about a day. Both are likely to be placed on injured reserve to make room for Mays and Orr.

Are they hurt? The Redskins say yes. They say Leverenz, who injured his hamstring Friday against the Los Angeles Rams, reinjured the leg during a workout at Redskin Park yesterday morning.

And Hobbs came up with a sore knee during Monday's practice.

The Redskins say they can prove the injuries are legitimate if the NFL sends a doctor to check them out, but it's clear that, while the formal developmental squads have been dumped, the Redskins will in effect have one of their own around.

By Week 5 Elewonibi, Brown, Rutledge, Hobbs and Leverenz can take part in practices and be activated, if needed.

(Rookie quarterback Cary Conklin is on injured reserve but won't be allowed to practice or play all season since he never was on the 47-man roster.)

Geathers will be back at practice next week, and two others on the physically unable to perform list -- guard Mark May and cornerback A.J. Johnson -- can practice as soon as they're healthy enough.

When the NFL dropped the developmental squads a month ago, Gibbs was among several coaches who complained, saying that more than a few borderline players had succeeded in the NFL after spending a season on injured reserve or something similar.

The Redskins seem almost certain Elewonibi, a third-round pick, has a bright future. He's big, strong and quick, but his football career didn't begin until he enrolled at a Utah junior college before attending Brigham Young. He has all the tools, but he's very raw in several areas.

Leverenz, an 11th-rounder from from Minnesota, also may be more than practice fodder. He was one of the country's top collegiate middle linebackers until tearing up both knees and is still learning to play with a pair of cumbersome braces.

Bringing Orr, Vaughn and Mays back may be the last round of the first round of roster moves, but it's certainly not the end.

Geathers will be activated as soon as he's ready to play and if May has a recovery resembling that of Joe Jacoby he'll again be pushing for a spot on the roster by midseason. Casserly and Gibbs both said it is important to remember that yesterday's moves also are preparations for making more moves down the road.

"Look, you can't have too many offensive linemen," Casserly said. "Last year we ended up starting guys that no one had ever heard of back in training camp. You make the moves you have to make to get your football team ready to play. But you still have to go out and play. We lost a game last year {to Dallas} because we didn't come to play. You still have to play the game."

The Redskins finished the day with their normal quota of players at every position except H-back-tight end, where they're carrying one too many, and at quarterback, where they're carrying one too few.

However, Casserly said the Redskins have carried only two quarterbacks in the past, including 1982 and 1983, when their seasons ended in the Super Bowl.

"You usually dress only two quarterbacks," he said, "and if we win the Super Bowl again, it could become a tradition."