He wears $200 cowboy boots and fox fur coats, occasionally dates one of the Pointer Sisters and is known to his teammates as "Hollywood." Even George Allen can't help but smile at the mention of his name.

"That Tom Henderson is something else," Allen said the other day. "We're always talking back and forth on the field and he told me once when he gets a little older he'd like to play for the Redskins. Tell Henderson the way he's playing he should be making $200,000 a year."

Henderson, who will start at the left linebacker position for the Cowboys Sunday against the Redskins, would probably agree. He will also tell you that Allen is one of his alltime favorites.

"Yeah, I really admire the dude," Henderson said. "He's such a tremendous competitor. I know people around here (in Dallas) don't like his tactics, but I think he's a unique person."

Of course everyone says the same thing about Henderson, a fourth-year man out of little Langston University in Oklahoma who is finally starting after three years of what he describes as "just killing everybody and kicking butts on special teams."

"That's what they always tell you here - play good on the specials and you'll get ahead. Well I was destroying folks, nobody played better than me, and they still wouldn't let me start. So I finally had to tell'em.

"I let 'em know that I had to start or something had to happen. To go into my fourth year and not be a starter, oh wow, I just couldn't handle that. So I went on radio and television, and I talked to all the writers. They got the message."

Indeed, when middle linebacker Lee Roy Jordan retired this year, the Cowboys put Bob Breunig in the middle, shifted Randy White from outside linebacker to defensive tackle and got Henderson into the starting lineup.

"They sould have put White (the former Maryland All-America) on the line right from the start, "Henderson said. "If they'd done that his rookie year, he'd be a monster. If they'd let me start then. I wouldn't be half-bad myself right now."

At the moment, Henderson leads the NFC in interceptions with three, including one that carried 79 yards for a touchdown against Tampa Bay. How did Henderson celebrate? "Like I always do when I score," he said. "I slam-dunked over the goal post. I was flying high, you might say.

"When I make a big play, it excites me. I love the excitment of the game not that three downs and a cloud of dust stuff.

"The whole game is like a gladiator situation, being out there in the arena with the people cheering you to do or die. I psyche myself up to be destructive. Not this criminal element stuff they keep talking about. I'm talking about physical toughness."

Henderson is always talking. Even on the playing field his chatter is nonstop. "I just can't stand to be quiet," he said. "What do I say? Oh, it goes from A to Z, from intimidation to just 'Hey, where you gonna' be after the game?' Sometimes its vulgar, sometimes its profane, but it's never quiet."

After several memorable hits in the Tampa Bay game. Henderson told interviewers. "I really like to give out those bone sandwiches." But there were no threats from Henderson for the Redskins. "I know better than that," he says. I'd be on George's bulletin board in a minute.

"I enjoy playing against those guys. They've got every trick in th book. Hey, is Mike Curtis still playing for them? You just don't fool those guys. They all know how to cut down on those steps. I can't even remember seeing Chris Hanburger hit the ground. He just tackles you and he never goes down. I love to see those guys play."

But the man Henderson admires more than anyone is Jim Brown." "He left the game on top, nobody ever said he was getting too old," Henderson said. "So I think I'd like to play this year and probably four more, then go into TV or the movies.

"I want to leave this game at my best. I don't want anybody to askme to retire. When I leave, I want them to beg me to come back."