Former Washington Redskins defensive end Dexter Manley, whose lifetime ban for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy cannot be lifted until at least Nov. 18, has applied to the league for reinstatement.

Manley's attorney, Bob Woolf, told the Associated Press yesterday he sent Commissioner Paul Tagliabue a two-page letter this week "just pointing out all the positive things Dexter has been doing. My hope and belief is that he will be compassionate and sympathetic to Dexter. Dexter is very optimistic."

Manley, who was not available for comment, received the lifetime ban last Nov. 18 for using cocaine. He is eligible for reinstatement after one year.

"I don't think {Manley and Woolf} are expecting early reinstatement," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said. "Nothing will be decided before" Nov. 18.

Asked whether Woolf's letter might prompt Tagliabue to begin evaluating Manley's situation early enough to render a decision on Nov. 18, Aiello said: "I don't want to say when the commissioner might begin the process. But he will want to rule on it as quickly as he reasonably can."

As has been their policy this year, Redskins officials declined to comment. Privately they have said Manley is not in their plans.

But Woolf said: "I don't have any indication from the Redskins. I would like to know as soon as possible. . . . Dexter prefers the Redskins. He loves Washington, the fans and the team. I'm not going to discard that. If the Redskins prefer to release him, then we would contact other clubs and see if there is some interest out there." Substitute Holder?

Reserve quarterback Jeff Rutledge was the holder for Chip Lohmiller in yesterday's field goal drill instead of punter Ralf Mojsiejenko. But Coach Joe Gibbs and special teams coach Wayne Sevier said a decision on whether to have Rutledge replace Mojsiejenko will not be made until Sunday, when the Redskins play the New York Giants at Giants Stadium. . . .

Gibbs said defensive tackle Markus Koch (sprained knee) practiced "a lot and looked good." Koch said the knee felt "all right." Whether he starts on Sunday will be up to defensive line coach Torgy Torgeson, Gibbs said. . . . Tight end Ron Middleton did not practice because of a slight ankle sprain sustained in Thursday's practice. Trainer Bubba Tyer said Middleton will be "ready for Sunday." Visitor from Baltimore

Baltimore Orioles relief ace Gregg Olson, an offensive lineman in high school, made his first trip to Redskin Park to visit Auburn schoolmates Middleton and Tracy Rocker and friends Jim Lachey and Brian Davis.