The Washington Redskins released tight end Fred Baxter yesterday, one week after signing him to back up Robert Royal and perhaps eventually become a starter. The move was made because Baxter suffered a strained hamstring in practice this week. The 12-year veteran was given an injury settlement; the Redskins can pursue another tight end in his place.

"We just decided to go ahead and do an injury settlement because he got hurt," Coach Joe Gibbs said. "We decided it was something that's going to be a while."

On Oct. 19, the Redskins released tight end Walter Rasby -- who had started every game -- and signed Baxter to the active roster. Rasby hasn't yet signed with another NFL team, and the Redskins haven't ruled out reacquiring him.

"Probably not, but you never say never," Redskins Vice President Vinny Cerrato said.

Royal will start against the Green Bay Packers tomorrow and the Redskins will use H-backs Brian Kozlowski and Mike Sellers for depth until a new tight end is signed. "We actually have four guys that will be active and ready to go there," Gibbs said, including rookie H-back Chris Cooley in the group. "Obviously, we're going to have to sign somebody else."

Gibbs said he didn't think the team was too hasty in releasing Rasby. "You always look back on things," Gibbs said, "and you could can second-guess almost everything we do. But in that case, we felt like it was the smart thing to do at that time."

Linebacker Brandon Barnes was signed from Washington's practice squad to the active roster to at least temporarily replace Baxter.

Brunell Staying Positive

Quarterback Mark Brunell, who has the NFL's worst completion percentage (51.2) and the league's second-worst average of yards per attempt (5.43), said he doesn't consider tomorrow's game a litmus test on keeping his job -- even though Gibbs has conceded he would switch to Patrick Ramsey at quarterback if necessary.

"I never think of that," Brunell said. "I go out and work hard. Those thoughts, there's nothing positive about thinking that way: always looking behind you, and playing the 'what if' game. You just go out and play hard and do your best and that's all you can do." . . .

Defensive end Phillip Daniels was upgraded from questionable to probable and is expected to play after missing the past four games with a groin pull. . . . Demetric Evans and Ron Warner made their NFL starting debuts in Daniels's absence. It was unclear yesterday whether Daniels would come off the bench or start. . . .

Although Mike Barrow is doubtful for tomorrow's game and still hasn't made his Redskins debut, Gibbs said the team will continue to wait for the linebacker to get healthy.

Celebrity Kicker

A photographer and reporter from a Swedish magazine, Cafe, shadowed kicker Ola Kimrin throughout the week. Kimrin described the magazine as Sweden's version of FHM. Last week, Expressen, a daily national newspaper from Sweden, sent journalists for a series on Kimrin.

The 6-foot-3, 230-pound kicker has become a celebrity in his native country while temporarily filling in for John Hall.

"Nobody back home really know how the [NFL] works," Kimrin said. "For example, what's in a facility like this [Redskins Park]."

Kimrin is the second Swedish-born player to make an NFL roster. The first was Bjorn Nittmo, also a kicker, who played for the New York Giants in 1989.

Kimrin's two field goals and extra-point kick helped the Redskins to a 13-10 victory over the Bears on Oct. 17. Kimrin knows he has to find a new team once Hall gets healthy. But Gibbs said that Hall likely will be out for two more weeks with a strained groin.

"I'm excited and happy to be playing again," said Kimrin, who also has a Web site in Swedish and English. "So I'm ready to go. I'm taking it day by day until John is ready."

Mark Brunell (8) is off to a slow start, and Redskins Coach Joe Gibbs said he would switch quarterbacks if necessary.