ASHBURN, Va. -- Stan Gelbaugh, pro football's traveling man, doesn't get easily discouraged.
Now working with his ninth team and third league, spanning three different countries, Gelbaugh still is enthusiastic that he's the starting quarterback for the 1-7 Seattle Seahawks heading into Sunday's game against the Washington Redskins.
It's better than the alternatives.
"Like working," Gelbaugh said with a laugh. "It beats selling copiers. That's what I always remind myself every now and then, and if I forget it, my wife reminds me."
Gelbaugh, a former starter at Maryland, thought selling copiers was his new career in 1990 when he was waived at the end of training camp by his third NFL team -- and fourth pro team -- the Cincinnati Bengals.
Little did he know he was destined to pull on a uniform for five more teams, three in the NFL.
"If things don't work out in football, I can always go back to that [selling copiers]. I did have some success at it, but you can't compare it to playing football," he said.
Gelbaugh got his career jump-started by the World League in the spring of 1991 when he led the London Monarchs to the league's first championship and was named the World League MVP.
After having a cup of coffee with a CFL team (Hamilton) and an NFL team (Kansas City), he signed with the Phoenix Cardinals for two games.
When Tom Tupa, who was filling in for injured Timm Rosenbach, struggled, Gelbaugh got a chance to start three games late in the year.
In the third one, against the Washington Redskins, he led the Cardinals to a 14-0 lead only to get pulled halfway in the fourth quarter for Chris Chandler after the Redskins had surged to a 20-14 lead.
"I felt that building up," Gelbaugh said. "When they got Chandler [in November after he was waived by Tampa Bay], I think they viewed him in a little better light than they did me for whatever reason. Bully for him."
Chandler started the last two games although Gelbaugh was inserted in the season finale against the New Orleans Saints after Chandler was intercepted twice. Gelbaugh was intercepted three times and left unprotected on Plan B.
He then signed with Seattle because his World League coach, Larry Kennon, was the Seahawks offensive coordinator.
Gelbaugh also returned to the World League this spring and endured a 2-7-1 season. The league has since suspended play, but Gelbaugh said he wasn't planning to return. The grind of playing two seasons a year was getting to be too much.
In Seattle this year, he was supposed to be the third-stringer behind Kelly Stouffer and Dan McGwire. After they both went down with injuries, he started the last three games before having a bye last week.
"It'd be nice to take over a 7-0 team on a roll that had everybody healthy, but that's not the situation I've been handed," he said.
Instead, five of the other 10 offensive starters are out and the team was blanked in Gelbaugh's first two starts before losing to the New York Giants, 23-10.
Even though he's been intercepted three times and been sacked 11 times, coach Tom Flores said he's been doing about as well as can be expected under the circumstances.
lTC Gelbaugh, who now makes his home in Poolesville, Md., will get his second chance against the Redskins Sunday in the Kingdome, but he probably won't be pulled this time. The Seahawks' only other quarterback is Rusty Hilger.
With Stouffer starting to recover from his dislocated shoulder, Gelbaugh would like to get something going to convince the coaches to stay with him or "at least make it a tougher decision with the coaches."
He said the Seahawks haven't given up on the season.
"We can still have a respectable season," he said. "If we can get a couple of wins, you never know what might happen."
As he prepares for the seventh NFL start of his career, Gelbaugh, 29, is still looking for his first NFL win and he's excited about his latest opportunity.
"You try to make the most of it and have some fun and try to enjoy yourself. If we can win a game, that'll make it even better. If not, it's been a lot of fun," he said.
NOTE: For the second straight day, five players -- linebackers Monte Coleman (neck) and Kurt Gouveia (neck), guards Joe Jacoby (neck) and Mark Schlereth (back) and safety Danny Copeland (neck) -- missed practice. It now appears that both Coleman and Gouveia may miss the Seattle game, which means former World League player John Brantley will start at middle linebacker. If Jacoby can't go, Ray Brown will start at left guard.
Travels with Stan Gelbaugh
Year Team League Status
1986 Dallas NFL Released
... .Saskatchewan CFL Played 5 games, released
... .Buffalo NFL Active 5 games, did not play
1987 Buffalo NFL Injured reserve
1988 Buffalo NFL Active 3 games, did not play
1989 Buffalo NFL Played 1 game
1990 Cincinnati NFL Released
1991 London World MVP
.... Hamilton CFL Released
.... Kansas City NFL Released
.... Phoenix NFL Played 6 games unprotected on Plan B
1992 London World Played 10 games
.... Seattle NFL Played 4 games