Speculation about coaching vacancies continued to occupy attention here during the count-down to the Super Bowl.
The absence of Dan Reeves, the team's offensive coordinator, as Dallas Cowboy assistants assembled at a press luncheon in their hotel headquarters prompted a check with Tom Landry, the head coach, and General Manager Tex Schramm.
Asked before the function if the New York Giants or New England Patriots had sought permission to talk to Reeves or Gil Brandt, the head of the Cowboy personnel department, Landry said, "Not that I know of." Schramm was asked the same question and gave the same answer, adding, "That ought to take care of that."
Brandt was reported en route here from Dallas and Reeves was not reachable for comment. Ernie Stautner, the team's defense coordinator, was asked if he had been contacted about a possible head coaching job and said, "Not yet. I'm not worried about it."
Cowboy linebacker Thomas Henderson abhors a vacuum and in the absence of hard news, his voice is easily heard.
Coach Chuck Noll of the Pittsburgh Steelers had to field questions about Henderson's remarks. "An empty barrel makes the most noise," Noll said. "He may have your (the media's) attention, but not ours."
Noll said that Lynn Swann's foot injury "could set him back a little bit but we won't be able to tell that until we see him run." The wide receiver's foot was stepped on in practice Tuesday.
Another Pittsburgh wide receiver was slightly hurt today. Backup Theo Bell split the webbing between his middle fingers on his left hand during a workout. Four stitches were required but Bell is expected to return to practice Thursday.
At the Cowboy practice field in Fort Lauderdale, two starters, defensive end Harvey Martin and guard Herbert Scott, and reserve wide receiver Butch Johnson suffered minor injuries.
Martin bruised his left knee, Scott twisted his right ankle when he collided with center John Fitzgerald and Johnson bruised his right foot when he was stepped on by a defensive back.
Landry said he was uncertain who he would start at fullback Sunday.
Regular Robert Newhouse is recovering from a broken leg; Scott Laidlaw has been the fullback since Newhouse was hurt in mid-November. Landry said he would watch Newhouse closely the next few days before making his decision.
Larry Cole will start at defensive tackle for the Cowboys, in place of Jethro Pugh, suffering from a torn cartilage in his knee.