FROSTBURG, Md. (AP) _ The phone hadn't been ringing very much for Jeff Sauve.

Sure, he still wanted to be an NFL kicker, but no team had expressed any interest in him after the Washington Redskins cut him just before the start of training camp. Falling back on Plan B, he returned to his job in the sales and marketing department of a computer company in his hometown of Harrisburg, Pa.

Then, about noon on Monday, the call finally came.

``I went up to my boss and said they're going to re-sign me,'' Sauve said. ``He started laughing.''

Fortunately, Sauve's boss is also his wife's uncle. Granted an immediate leave of absence, he ran home and kissed his wife and 1-year-old daughter goodbye, hopped in his Jeep Cherokee and made it to Frostburg in time for a 4 p.m. workout. He signed on Tuesday, allowing the Redskins to conduct their first field goal drills in nearly a week.

``It's probably a long shot, but I'm going to take advantage of it the best I can, and hope that something falls my way,'' said Sauve, who went 4-for-5 at Tuesday's practice, including a 53-yarder. ``Kicking's a tough lifestyle.''

He couldn't have said it better. After all, the Redskins didn't call him because they were particularly awed by his kicking. Sauve was simply the default choice of a team getting desperate.

Incumbent Scott Blanton, who disappointed the Redskins last year with limited range on both kickoffs and field goals, strained his groin in last week's scrimmage against the Steelers. Although he's expected to start kicking again in a couple of days, the same kind of injury sidelined him for the entire season in 1995.

Danny Kight, brought in to challenge Blanton, is recovering from a hip injury suffered while playing for the Rhein Fire in NFL Europe's World Bowl. Although he's attempted a few short kicks after practice, Kight won't be cleared for a full workout until next week at the earliest.

On top of everything else, the out-of-work-kicker cupboard is very bare. Of the four unsigned kickers who played in the NFL last season, three _ Kevin Butler and former Redskins Eddie Murray and Chris Jacke _ are considered past their prime, and the fourth _ Scott Bentley _ has made only two career field goals.

So, with an exhibition game coming up against Miami on Saturday, coach Norv Turner was facing the prospect of making the 2-point conversion an essential part of his game plan.

``We still feel Scott Blanton will kick Saturday,'' said general manager Charley Casserly. ``We're just covering our bases for the weekend.''

Football wasn't even Sauve's first pro sport. Drafted by the Boston Red Sox out of Clemson, he was a relief pitcher in the minors before tearing his rotator cuff during spring training last year. Since then, he's more or less balanced his 9-to-5 computer job with football workouts at a nearby high school field.