Dallas coach Tom Landry's decision to start play Dorsett against the Steelers this week could be fortuitos timing that will enhance the running back's effort in his hometown area.

Dan Rooney, president of the Steelers, says the club asked the Seattle Seahawaks, what they would want to trade the top draft pick in the National Football League, so that Pittsburg might take Dorsett.

When they told us, "Rooney recalls, "We never gave it a lot of monght . . . not 15 minutes, I'd say, because it put him out of the picture."

The Cowboys gave their No. 1 draft choice and three second-round picks to Seattle for the Seahawks' No. 1 selection, and grabbed off Dorsett.

"We didn't have three No. 2 picks to give," Rooney says, "So Seattle wanted veteran players from us. We were willing to switch No. 2 draft choices with the Seahawks, but we were not willing to give a lot of veterans."

Why not?

"Well, we had good running backs D'Lanco Harris and Rockey Bleier) for [WORD ILLEGIBLE]. Dorsett is a good back and would give us a different picture speed and game-breaking potential), out our won Laverne Smith gave us the same kind of picture."

Rookie Smith was a fourth-round draft choice from Kansas who surpassed Gale Sayers' and John Riggins' rushing records there with 3,192 yards. He ran for 236 yards on 15 carries against Missouri as a junior. Smith qualified for the 1976 Olympic trials with a 10.1-second time for 100 meters and 20.3 for 200, and was clocked at 4.3 seconds for 40 yards.

Alas, Smith, 5-foot-10 and 193 pounds, suffered a broken leg Rooney described as "very, very serious knee and ankle. The doctor has encouraged him by saying the leg now can be stronger; that it could have been much worse if it had been the knee or angle."