America's team, indeed. Dennis Thurman, a two-time all-America (USC) arrested in a Bank of America office --

Grilled five hours by police, he was, before they decided the "stickup" was merely a bad joke -- but aren't the negative items about the Dallas Cowboys piling just a bit high?

Cowboy defensive back Thurman "just got a little bored" waiting for a friend to cash a check at the bank in Hawthorne, Calif., Monday, so passed the time by passing the teller a note: "Dear teller: This is a stickup. Please don't make any false moves or noise. I have a gun and I will use it. Signed, Robber."

Another employe saw what was happening, pressed a silent alarm and brought Hawthorne police and FBI agents swooping down on (unarmed) Thurman and friend.

Just a prank.Ha-ha. "bet," said a police spokesman after charges were forgone, "it's a long time before he tries a gag like that again."

Between Thurman and linebacker Mike Hegman with his recent checking "incident," bank on considerable repartee from across the Redskin scrimmage line come RFK opener Sept 8 . . .

No holdup in Philadelphia, just baseball's Garry Maddox, via agent Jerry Kapstein, climbing into the long-term money league of Phillie teammates Pete Rose and Mike Schmidt with a fresh five-year $3.5 million (estimated) contract. Negotiations bore fruit after reaching such an impasse that virtually on season's eve the Phils were talking of having a trade away their center fielder deluxe before he could play out his option this season and become a free agent . . .

Well, it was stylish, Lawrence McCutcheon's suprise pass for a 24-yard touchdown in the Super Bowl, but it was a last Los Angeles Ram hurrah for the club's all-time rushing leader. The Rams traded McCutcheon to the Denver Broncos yesterday for an undisclosed future draft choice. McCutcheon totaled 6,186 yards in 1,435 carries in seven L.A. campaigns; was an automatic 1,000-yard man until injuries hamstrung him the past two seasons and opened the way for Wendell Tyler to supplant him at tailback.

The promised Tuscaloosa, Ala., news conference yesterday developed as expected, C. M. Newton resigning after 12 years (211-123) as Alabama basketball coach to become assistant for administration to the Southeastern Conference commissioner. Winford (Wimp) Sanderson, a Tide assistant for 20 years, moves up to head coach -- with the enthusiasm to recruit that Newton lost, he said, as "things that used to not bother me began to bother me" and the fun went out of coaching . . .

U. of Rhode Island will have an announcement today in Kingston, no doubt that it is moving into basketball's Eastern Eight as the replacement for Vilanova. That leaves applicants Detroit and Old Dominion out in the cold -- or does it? ODU just might wind up in the Sun Belt Conference, for U. of New Orleans withdrew yesterday from that upward-looking group, reducing membership to seven.Sun Belt Commissioner Vic Bubas reported the action after UNO failed to win conference approval to shift its home games to an on-campus facility so inadequate opponents call it the "Chamber of Horrors." The school used to play in the Superdome, lately at Tulane . . .

Look who's back in NASL: flamboyant Geroge Best, moving on this trip from Hibernian of the Scottish League to the San Jose Earthquakes . . . Shades of Paul Cannell, further flamboyance, or something, broke out in Vancouver on Saturday when Whitecap winger Willie Johnston dropped his drawers in front of the Seattle Sounders' bench. Most of the 27,000 fans missed the "mooning," but not everybody did and the 'Caps fear league discipline a-coming . . .

The Atlanta Flames' owner, Tom Cousins, no longer denies "actively discussing offers" to purchase the NHL franchise. Most like relocation: Calgary.

Edward Bennett Williams, Hank Peters, Earl Weaver, Brooks and Frank Robinson, Ray Miller and an Oriole player or three will be in town at the TD Club, noon luncheon ($8.50, call to reserve), Thursday, to keep drumming for Washington support.