The USFL announced here a league-wide substance abuse prevention and career counseling program, Project Sports. Ted Diethrich, Arizona cardiovascular surgeon and Chicago Blitz owner, guides the program. Director Byron Kunisawa interviewed USFL players last month in an effort to identify those with potential drug problems, "so we can intervene." Diethrich said that on his own team, one veteran player turned up with such a problem and now, "We are checking him twice a week."
Any troubled player, Diethrich added, can seek help and "there will be no punitive action taken." Project Sports will be administered by National Sports Career Management of San Mateo, Calif., a creation of former NFL running backs Larry Schreiber and Delvin Williams (he just cut by USFL Oakland) . . .
In the NFL, it may be as much a shock to the Philadelphia Eagles as Leroy Harris' agent said it was to him on learning what fullback Harris said under oath Thursday in Camden (N.J.) Domestic Relations Court.
Harris, threatened with jail for arrears owed his estranged wife to support their son (the Philadelphia Inquirer related), testified he made $130,000 salary for 1982, a raise for '83, and a $60,000 season-end bonus of which $38,000 was left after taxes. He cited $17,000 as travel expenses and the judge asked:
"What about the other $21,000?"
"Well, I'm a junkie."
"What kind of drugs?"
Coach Marion Campbell plans to see Harris shortly, say the Eagles. In 1979, remember, Dick Vermeil dropped backs Mike Hogan and James Betterson after arrests on drug charges that later were dropped . . .
And in Dallas, ex-Cowboy, ex-Eagle guard John Niland, 39, faces investigation on several charges including cocaine possession. He was arrested Thursday after a former girlfriend flagged down a policeman to complain Niland had put his fist through a window of her car.