ON HOLD: NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue yesterday confirmed reports that the World League of American Football's first season might not start next spring as scheduled.

"It's possible it might not start on time," Tagliabue said on the eve of a meeting of NFL owners. "Today there are a lot of uncertainties. The economy isn't as robust as it was when the idea of the league was launched."

WLAF President Mike Lynn will be present today when the NFL "looks at all aspects of the operation," Tagliabue said. "Right now I think we're ready to go in the spring of 1991, but we have to see what's the most sensible thing to do."


New Orleans Saints President-General Manager Jim Finks said he would like to see the NFL do away with its in-the-grasp rule for quarterbacks.

"That's one rule I would very much like to see changed," said Finks, a former NFL quarterback and head of the NFL's competition committee. "I think there's enough protection for the quarterbacks in the book that {we} would not necessarily have open game on the quarterbacks."


Dolphins WR Mark Clayton will be sidelined at least a month because of a torn knee ligament suffered in Sunday's 17-3 victory over the Jets. The team said no surgery will be needed. . . .

Rick Fenney, Minnesota's leading rusher, will be out at least two weeks with a sprained right knee. The Vikings likely will activate RB D.J. Dozier, who recently signed after spending the summer playing minor league baseball. . . . The Patriots released OL David Douglas.