"Jim Hart was there last year and they went to put him in at the end of the Giant game," Laufenberg said. "We were getting killed. But Theismann got (upset) and said, 'I'm finishing up.' And they kept him in. . . .
"The whole thing back there was a little weird. . . . I liked being back there. I like living there. I liked the guys. I knew the system. I wouldn't say I was glad to get out of there, but if your future is better served somewhere else. . . .
"It's the nature of the business that you go where the opportunity is. It's not like other jobs where your abilities are going to shine through. If you're an accountant, they hire 15 or 30 accountants and the cream kind of rises to the top. But on a football team, only one guy can play quarterback, so it's a little bit different."
Laufenberg spent the 1983 season on the bench behind Theismann and Bob Holly. He spent last season on the injured-reserve list after straining his right shoulder during the exhibition season.
Still, he had enough confidence that the Redskins would keep him that he bought a house last spring in Falls Church, Va.
The kiss of death?
"Definitely," said Laufenberg, laughing. "I should have told them I was just renting. . . . They must go through the real estate listings and if they see your name come up on the computer that you've bought a house, you're gone."
Actually, the Redskins just believed they had to make a choice between Schroeder and Laufenberg, and they chose Schroeder.
Laufenberg was disappointed, but not discouraged.
He was confident that another team would come knocking.
"Babe's always had a lot of self-confidence," said Jeff, his brother. "It was never a kind of thing where anybody had to work on him to keep his spirits up. . . .
"Fortunately, there have been the phone calls coming in, albeit for what I call injury-protection workouts, but as long as teams are interested. . . .
"Today's offensive coordinator is tomorrow's head coach somewhere else and maybe somebody sees something they like. As long as they're calling you, and as long as you're on their list, that's enough to keep your spirits up."
Laufenberg didn't play last Sunday in the Chargers' 26-21 loss at Seattle, and his future with the Chargers is uncertain, but he believes that someday, somewhere, he'll get his chance.
"I really thought that this year I had been coming along pretty well, really progressing," he said. "Of course, preseason isn't like the regular season, but I've done well every time I've been given a chance. I just need that test. I don't have any doubts that I can do it."