Leave it to the Baltimore Colts. They let go their player personnel director of a decade's standing, Fred Schubach, yesterday--and, hours later, announced they had signed Chris Hinton, the No. 1 draft choice acquired from Denver in last week's John Elway deal.

Hinton of Northwestern, fourth pick and first offensive lineman in the NFL draft, had claimed to be "crushed" at being dealt to Baltimore, but now has turned down USFL's Chicago Blitz, signed a series of one-year contracts (terms secret) and will be flown in say hi next week.

The Colts can use new "family," what with Schubach's departure, as "a mutually agreed-upon decision . . . based on differing draft philosophies," following on the heels of the death of trainer emeritus Ed Block, most beloved of all the Colts family.

Schubach joined the Colts at their NFL birth in 1953 (a year before Block), working his way up from equipment manager--a job he learned from his father, who handled the Philadelphia Eagles' gear for 27 years.

Meanwhile, Elway will be a Bronco for (the Denver Post reports) $600,000 in 1983, $700,000 in 1984, $800,000 in 1985, $900,000 in 1986, $1 million in 1987--on top of a $1 million signing bonus . . . And his predecessor as No. 1 Baltimore draftee, would-be second-year Colt Art Schlichter: NFL confirms that when he met with Commissioner Pete Rozelle, Schlichter was accompanied by a psychiatrist experienced in treating compulsive gamblers--Dr. Robert Custer, chief of treatment services, Veterans Administration Hospital, Washington, D.C. . . .