Former Washington Redskins place kicker Nick Novak, a rookie from Maryland, signed with the Arizona Cardinals yesterday to replace injured veteran Neil Rackers. Novak, 24, made 5 of 7 field goal attempts with Washington while filling in for John Hall for five games, but was released Nov. 6 when Hall returned from an injury.

Novak said he beat out three other place kickers for the job and had no idea how long Rackers, who was having a superior season before injuring his calf, will be out. The Redskins (5-6) will play at Arizona next weekend, and feel they must win all five remaining games to have any playoff chance.

"I heard that we play them in two weeks, and it's just one of those things that happen in this league," Novak said when reached on his cell phone. "When I came to the Redskins our first game was in Dallas, the team I just came from. That's just how it works out sometimes, I guess."

Novak, who went to high school in Charlottesville, made his NFL debut in Week 2, hitting the game-winning extra point in a 14-13 comeback defeat of the Cowboys, and displayed good distance and accuracy, but lacked length on some kickoffs and loft on a few field goal attempts (two were blocked), while Hall recovered from a quad injury.

Novak said he had a tryout with Tampa Bay on Tuesday but the Buccaneers signed Todd France. Novak said he missed just one kick during yesterday's practice with Arizona.

"I've just been going on the circuit," Novak said.

Novak is the ACC's all-time leading scorer and was cut by Dallas and Chicago in the preseason. . . .

The Eagles have withdrawn a tampering complaint against the Cowboys filed after Dallas owner Jerry Jones suggested on a radio show that his team is often interested in players such as suspended wide receiver Terrell Owens, according to the Associated Press.

-- Jason La Canfora

Nick Novak played five games for the Redskins; he was a preseason cut with Dallas and Chicago. "I've just been going on the circuit," he said.