Don Cherry, the Boston Bruin coach, saw the item about Tom McVie, the Caps' former coach, turning down an offer to pilot the Bruin's top farm club, Rochester, and their feud - at least from Cherry's end - is on again.

Cherry bombed verbally away: "McVie's a phony. He would have taken a pay cut to go to Rochester. He's getting $60,000 a year for two years in Washington for doing nothing. I'd never work in the same organization with a man like that . . .

"If he's declaring war, let's get it going. If Tommy McVie is coming here (McVie had said he hopes to work for Harry Sinden, Bruin general manager, in some capacity in the future), where does that leave Don Cherry? Everyone knows his coaching methods are antiquated. They're straight out of 1948 and oppose everything I stand for.

"One of my players said, "If Tommy McVie is coming here, he might not have any players.' Right now, he's undermining (Cap Coach Danny) Belisle. He's in the locker room with the players all the time and not letting them do their job."

"McVie should quit whining. He lost the bloody job and that's it." Tommy!?!?

Peace has quitely broken out between Lydell Mitchell, the San Diego Charger, and his former employer, the Baltimore Colts: Mitchell dropped his claim that racial prejudice was a factor in the summer contract dispute that culminated in his trade for Joe Washington.A scheduled NFL grievance hearing this month was canceled after a settlement all parties said contained no inducements or promises. Mitchell says he had agreed to the Colts contract offer but asked to be traded because Bob Irsay, the Baltimore owner, demanded an apology for the racial allegation - "He took it personal. I never said he was prejudiced."

The football Giants learned their lesson, all right, from "The Philly Play" - the one that should have killed the clock but killed New York, 19-17, when Herm Edwards ran a fumbled handoff for an Eagle TD. Sunday, in Buffalo, to finish off the first half fail-safe with a 10-7 lead, Giant QB Joe Pisarcik brightly fell on the ball - with, just in case, flanker Jimmy Robingon stationed at offensive safety. Yep, seven years behind Pisarcik.

Buffalo won anyway, 41-17.

Lou Holtz has declared on a statewide radio network, "I do not have any intentions or plans of leaving the University of Arkansas," as his answer to speculation he might dually replace Florida Coach Doug Dickey and Athletic Director Ray Graves. But the Razorback coach hedged, "There's no way in this world I'm going to say I will be at the University of Arkansas the rest of my life."

Similarly, Joe Paterno responds to the drumbeat from the New York papers that he, pretty please, take command of the NFL Giants (as Holtz once took, unhappily, the Jets) with "I am so happy with what I am doing, so happy with Penn State," but maybe not forever: "I've often wondered what it would be like (coaching the Giants). There's just enough kid in me . . . I can walk away (from State) anytime I want and I can stay as long as I want."

And if Paterno walks away, don't be surprised if Navy's George Welsh walks into his shoes.

Kansas is "interested" in N.C. State Coach Bo Rein to fill the Jay-hawk head-coaching vacancy . . .

And now will Rein's old mentor Woody Hayes quit the Ohio State helm? "There are times after 28 years when I've gotten ready to say, "The hell with it,'" Hayes is telling alumni gatherings. "But only for about 10 seconds. It (quitting) would make too many people happy."

The North American Soccer League owners, served with a formal National Labor Relations Board complaint for refusing to bargain with the NASL Players Association certified by NLRB after an August election, are shooting for appellate court, reversal of a June NLRB ruling. That board ruled that a league wide bargaining unit was appropriate for the 24 clubs; the owners contended bargaining should be with the separate clubs . . .

Sunday's NBC-TV team in RFK; John Brodie and - don't fumble! - Curt Gowdy . . . Coming live on ABC-TV Wide World of Sports (5 p.m.) Dec. 9, the Sugar Ray Leonard mix with Armando Muniz, at 152 pounds the Palmer Parker's heaviest opposition yet, 29 KO wins in a 44-13-1 career and a motive as big brother of Javier Muuniz, a one-round Leonard KO victim in March