"I would be willing to work on a handshake," Bart Starr offered yesterday -- after he'd been given a two-year contract extension, January 1980 to January 1982, as coach and general manager of the Green Bay Packers, who virtually tied Minnesota for the NFC Central title after a long drought that encompassed Starr's first three years at the wheel.
"Now he can afford to take Pete Rose and Dr. J out to dinner," the Eagles' GM, Jim Murray, replied in lieu of letting the Philadelphia media know just how much linebacker Bill Bergey's brand-new contract is worth. Bergey, 34 next month, signed a set of four one-year agreements that may not quite put him on a salary par with fellow Philly moneybags Rose ($3.2 million in four years) and Erving ($2.5 mil, five years) but may add up to $1 million for the duration.
Died: Dave Grote, 59, public relations director of the National League for many years; throat cancer... Recuperating from cancer surgery in which 60 percent of his liver, a kidney, an adrenal gland and parts of his diaphragm were removed in Denver: Phil Scaffidi, captain of Niagara U.'s basketball team (on which the star is Garry Jordan, 25 points a game, out of McKinley Tech H.S. here)... the passing of Bill Deck, the longtime Belair (Bowie) golf pro and erstwhile D.C. athlete who had moved to New Jersey last year, by heart attack at 53 shocked many, many friends and colleagues here.