Tight end and H-back Terry Orr's odyssey through the NFL's waiver wire ended yesterday morning when he returned to the Washington Redskins to find a familiar locker and a lot of familiar faces.

"Of course, I'm happy to be back," he said. "This is home. I haven't played anywhere else. At the same time, I know it's a business and these things happen. But it's tough when it happens to you."

What happened to Orr was that when the Redskins trimmed their roster to 47 players, he was waived and could have been claimed by any other team. The Redskins gambled they could get Orr, safety Clarence Vaughn and some others through waivers then re-sign them after they'd cleared.

If any of their offensive linemen had been exposed to waivers, the Redskins probably would have lost them. Orr did clear waivers, and yesterday he and cornerback Alvoid Mays were re-signed after receiver Stephen Hobbs (knee) and rookie linebacker Jon Leverenz (hamstring) were placed on injured reserve.

Coach Joe Gibbs informed Orr of the decision Sunday night. He'd been through it two years earlier and knew that he might wake up one day this week and find himself playing for someone else.

In fact, the thought had crossed his mind that he would fit in perfectly with the Phoenix Cardinals and their new coach, former Redskins assistant Joe Bugel.

"That would really have been strange to play my first game for a new opponent here," Orr said.

He said the decision to waive him wasn't a surprise because "this training camp was kind of weird. Not getting many offensive snaps I knew something could be up. It's such a business and sometimes you get reminded of that. I knew I could end up claimed and be gone from here. I just left home Tuesday and stayed away until late in the day. Whatever was going to happen was going to happen one way or the other."

Cutting Corners

Alvoid Mays was a different story. He was a late training-camp cut by the Houston Oilers last year and decided to come back "because I wasn't going to let one organization end my career. If I was going to hear it, I was going to hear it from someone else."

He ended up beating out veteran Wayne Davis for the fourth cornerback job and said: "I'm happy, real excited. I've got a job with a steady income."

Mays knew he was a long shot, but he didn't realize how much of one until reporting to training camp and finding his name misspelled on his locker and in correspondence from the team.

"I never felt totally comfortable," he said. "I thought I played well a couple of times, but you don't know what they're thinking. I just knew that if I performed on a high level on special teams or whatever, they might notice me. I guess they did."

He's juggling two careers after releasing a rap single -- "I'm On It" -- two weeks ago. It's available mostly around his hometown of Tampa, but he said several distributors have asked about selling it nationally.

Vaughn, Stokes Ready

Vaughn and defensive end Fred Stokes practiced yesterday and both are expected to play Sunday against the Cardinals. The Cardinals list no injuries.