They're giving away tickets to Colts vs. Patriots, and in regular season, yet.

Talk about pro football's sudden slump at the gate. To help fill 61,086-seat Sullivan Stadium in Foxboro, Mass., where only 31,000 seats have been sold for Sunday's game with Baltimore, the New England team is sending two complimentary tickets to each of its 7,500 season-ticket accounts (who hold an average of four seats apiece).

The Patriots had a better idea that they couldn't bring off, including in the price of admission a postgame concert--it worked here for soccer's Team America--by the Beach Boys . . .

Steve Cox, Browns' punter, successfully came through Cleveland Clinic surgery in which a permanent shunt was implanted to relieve blockage of fluid between his brain and spinal cord. Ex-Chief Jeff Gossett was brought in to punt, but Coach Sam Rutigliano says Cox might be back at it by October . . . While several teams rehired players waived but unclaimed (Charger Louie Kelcher, for one), somebody else picked up Chicago's Robin Earl: the cops. A few hours after being cut from his tight end job--and telling Bears Coach Mike Ditka "there's a lot of grumbling" about the direction in which Ditka might be taking the team--Earl was jailed overnight in Fox River Grove, Ill., for alleged drunk driving . . .

Maryland offensive lineman Harry Venezia has made an unexpectedly swift recovery from his chest injury and expects to join practices next week and play in the opener at Vanderbilt Sept. 10.