Tom Landry hinted last night that Dan Reeves may become the new head coach of the New England Patriots when and if they settle their legal differences with Chuck Fairbanks.

Landry, head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, was the featured speaker at the kickoff dinner at the Country Club of Fairfax, where the Fellowship of Christian Athletes will hold its national pro-am golf tournament Sept. 10.

While answering questions from the audience afterward, Landry was asked about the future of Reeves, his offensive coordinator.

"Reeves is a fine young coach," Landry said. "He'll be (head) coaching pretty soon in the league."

At New England?

"Well, I don't know till the Patriots get out of the courts, but somewhere."

At a news conference before the dinner, Landry said in reply to a similar question, "We're going to lose Dan. He's a good coach and he's young."

Landry explained that Reeves was younger than other assistants on his Cowboy staff.

He said Reeves already has talked to the Patriots in terms of "if and when" that club is legally free to interview him, but Landry made it clear that Reeves has not yet been interviewed by the Patriots because of the ongoing litigation between New England and Fairbanks, who wants to coach at the University of Colorado.

After taking note that he was in Redskin territory, Landry was asked if he would hire George Allen, his former adversary, and he said, "I respect George; he's a winner. But I could not work with him; we're different. He wants to win at all costs."

The Cowboy coach said that when he landed at Dulles Airport yesterday and saw the Redskin complex nearby, "I thought I would do a little scouting, but I wasn't sure I could get through the land mines.... Oh, I forgot, George isn't here anymore."

During Super Bowl week, Landry strongly implied his practices had been spied on in the past by the Redskins.

More recently, Tim Temerario, Allen's one-time assistant, said that never happened during Allen's seven seasons here.

Asked to comment on that, Landry said last night, "Well, I feel sure if George had a chance to look (at Cowboy practices), he'd look."

Landry did confirm the substance of a story that Temerario told about the Cowboys.

Temerario said he once questioned Steve Goebel, a quarterback candidate who had been cut by Dallas, about the Cowboys' complicated offense and was told neither Goebel nor Roger Staubach nor any of the other Cowboy quarterbacks knew where all the other players shifting around were supposed to be going until they set themselves just before the snap.

Landry said that was essentially true "because they didn't have to know."