Russell Erxleben, the former Texas kicker-punter, whose quick draft by the New Orleans Saints last year turned to an almost-asswift injury and a wasted rookie campaign, say a deal is in the works to trade him to the Cowboys for Dallas pariah Thomas Henderson, the wayward linebacker. Officials of both teams deny there's anything to it. . .

Top choice, officially, for athletic director at U. of Tennessee Martin: Ray Mears, who had to give up coaching at the main U. of Tenn. campus at Knoxville following his third bout with mental depression in 15 years' tenure. He's awaiting doctor's approval to switch from special projects on the Knoxville campus. . .

The unsinkable Norm Van Brocklin: Lost his latest coaching job, as Georgia Tech assistant, when Pepper Rodgers was fired. Now has had a brain operation on the opposite side from where he had surgery little more than a year ago -- and was pacing the floor at Emory University Hospital, Atlanta, less than a day after the latest procedure, which involved drilling a hole in the left side of his skull, removing a small artery from the scalp and affixing it to a larger artery on the brain's surface. It's designed to increase blood flow and lessen likelihood of stroke.

"Sure I've got a headache. . . but I'm doing great," said the NFL all-timer, 53. "He's as healthy as any fellow his age and probably stronger than most," said the Dutchman's surgeon.

Baseball clinic Saturday, George Washington U.: Colonial Coach Mike Toomey invites one and all, $3, registration starting 9:30 a.m., sessions at 11. Speakers to include coaches Walt Masterson of George Mason, Chuck Hinton of Howard, Dee Frady of American, Tim McCormick and Bruce Cudmore of Catholic, and Toomey. In Marvin Center on 21st Street NW.