Dave Wilson, New Orleans Saints backup quarterback and a former University of Illinois starter, denies having a drug problem and says he will have to "live down" reports about drug abuse by Saints players.

"I have no problem with drugs," Wilson told the Champaign-Urbana News Gazette in an interview published yesterday.

"If I'd been a lineman, my name probably wouldn't have come out," he said. "But it's happened and I'll just have to live with the embarrassment. I'll just have to live it down."

Wilson was one of 12 Saints players The New York Times reported had purchased cocaine from either a convicted drug dealer or a man indicted on cocaine charges Friday.

Instant fame, big-money contracts and intense pressure make new National Football League players susceptible to cocaine and other drugs, said Dallas Cowboys Coach Tom Landry.

"You've got guys coming off a college campus who don't have any money to start with, then all of a sudden they have a lot of money," Landry said. "And then with the glamor of pro football and the pressure of it, which is tremendous, you can see how they'd be susceptible to it."

Landry, who made his comments in a speech in New Orleans, said he felt the Cowboys suffered less from the problem than some other teams. "We don't have that much of a problem with the Cowboys that I've noticed, but I can see how it can be pretty active with some teams," he said.

Landry said he favored an education program for combatting the problem in football--but not the urinalysis tests suggested by some officials. "We don't want to develop a police state," he said.

Randy Vataha, co-owner of the Boston franchise in the United States Football League, said in Boston that the club is "pretty close" to naming a coach but refused to comment on a report that it will be Dick Coury, an assistant with the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Boston Herald American reported yesterday that Coury has accepted the job.

Alfred Jenkins, one of the NFL's top wide receivers, has delayed signing a contract with the Atlanta Falcons this season, saying the team is being "unfair" and "insulting."

In an interview published in the combined editions of The Macon News and The Macon Telegraph, Jenkins, an all-pro, said, "I've had it with the Falcons. They've never given me the money I think I deserve. After what I've done for them, they're offering me peanuts. It's insulting."

The 5-foot-9, 155-pound Jenkins, who has been all-pro the last two years, earned about $150,000 last season, the newspapers reported.