Tom Cousineau, first choice in the whole NFL draft, will assemble a news conference today to announce whether he will play for the Buffalo Bills or a Canadian Football League team.

The word comes not from Columbus, where Cousineau backed up Ohio State's line so well, nor from Buffalo. No, it comes from New York - base of Cooz's agent, Jimmy Walsh, who used to orchestrate this type of suspense for Joe Namath.

But Canada? Stranger things have happened. Far be it from us to let you get caught off guard, with the Daily Journal de Montreal reporting (in French) that Cousineau already had signed yesterday with the Montreal Alouettes after rejecting a $1.2 million, five-year Buffalo NFL offer because he didn't like the Bills' take-it-or-leave-it attitude.

Le Journal went so far as to say Cousineau will play for the Alouettes against Calgary next Wednesday!

Larry Bird, No. 1 basketball collegian turning pro, says the Providence story quoting him as saying he means to play his five-year contract with the Boston Celtics, then retire, was a crock. Or does he?

"It is ridiculous. I hope I'm with the Boston Celtics for the next 20 years," is the statement issued to the media in Bird's name - by his agent, Bob Woolf.

Sebastian Coe, England's 22-year-old world-record smasher in the 800 meters and the mile in a two-week span, says, "I shall definitely not be living only for athletics just because the Olympics are next year. Even if everything went right for me in Moscow, athletics could only be my thing for five years more at the most. I'm concerned about the rest of my life and that's why I will do postgraduate work of some kind next year, as well as train."

Meantime? "I'll run one more race for this season, the 800 meters for Britain in the Europe Cup final in Turin next month."

Leaving the world to wonder which Briton is best at the mile, or the metric mile, Coe or Steve Ovett, world 1,500-meter champion who said before Coe astounded everybody with his 3:48.95 in Oslo, "I am the best in the world and whoever wins, it will be a hollow victory" .... Hollow there, Steve!

Not only were the Oakland Raiders still looking yesterday for Ken Stabler to show up with camp six days old, but they're missing the Snake's favorite receiver. Adamantly holding out for a better deal or forget him, he says, is premier tight end Dave Casper and darn the mounting fines for AWOL....

Air Force Academy is considering membership in the Western Athletic Conference. Even if accepted, though, says Col. John Clune, the athletic director, AFA would make sure to hang onto its traditional rivalries with Army, Navy and Notre Dame.