As a public service, we will put an end to any wishful thinking before it gets out of hand: Personnel whiz Bobby Beathard is not going to fill the "football man" void for the New York Jets after he leaves the Redskins at the end of the month.

"No way," one Jet insider said emphatically Friday. "I'd bet my salary on it. Besides, I hear he's a done deal with San Diego."Not quite yet, but the Chargers remain the overwhelming favorites to land Beathard, whenever he decides he has had enough surfing - his unabashed passion - in Southern California. Here's why San Diego appeals and Long Island does not:

- Beathard, 52, and his wife long to return to the West Coast, where both were born and raised. Beathard wants to spend more time with his parents, who are in their 80s.

- According to sources, Chargers owner Alex Spanos met with Beathard two months ago and would hire him in a second. Steve Ortmayer runs the show for Spanos now, and most fans in San Diego finger him for the demise of the club.

- Joe Walton was the offensive coordinator for the Redskins from 1978-80 - Beathard's first years as GM - and jumped ship to join the Jets just before Beathard hired Joe Gibbs as coach in '81. Although the two get along, that might indicate Walton is not Beathard's kind of coach.

- Beathard has privately told friends the lifestyle in New York "isn't for me."

The most popular conjecture has Ortmayer surviving until after the season, while Beathard settles back and relaxes for a bit. He is planning to vacation in Australia next month, but the architect of Washington's 92-42 record and three Super Bowl appearances in the '80s won't stay idle for long.

"I would like not to sit around," Beathard said, "but maybe go through a football season watching it from the outside, and then make a decision."

Beathard maintained on Friday that he had not been contacted by any other NFL clubs. In addition, Beathard, Gibbs and owner Jack Kent Cooke put on what most veteran 'Skins observers considered an award-winning performance, denying there have been any tensions among them.

"The rumored rifts are strictly rumors," Beathard said. Don't believe it. He and Gibbs clashed on the acquisitions of running backs Gerald Riggs and Earnest Byner on draft day, with Beathard relenting in the knowledge he was on the way out. Gibbs, for all his success, has grown insecure and has adopted a "win-now" philosophy.

Said Cooke: "I'm sure Bobby will be back in the NFL one day, but I would be a little hurt if he comes back with another team."

And the Jets? Word is their alleged search for a front-office head honcho has been put on hold. "When we have anything to say on that subject, it will be reported at that time," team president Steve Gutman said. "We have nothing to say at this time."

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Image tune-up: Giants' All-Pro LB Lawrence Taylor, still waiting for a court date to be set on his driving-while-intoxicated charge, closed on $1.1 million worth of low-income housing property in Newark, N.J., Friday.

Taylor and Mayor Sharpe James - who asked LT to consider investing in Newark three months ago - will take part in a ribbon-cutting ceremony this week.

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Boxing promoter Shelly Finkel is interested in scheduling a match between Mike Tyson and Packers No. 1 pick Tony Mandarich.

Vern Sharbaugh, agent for the 6-6, 315-pound Mandarich, says: "Your first reaction is, `Come on.' But on the other hand, how many times have you said, `I'd step into the ring with Mike Tyson for $10 million?"'

Stepping into the ring isn't the problem, according to Packers GM Tom Braatz.

"If he stepped into the ring with Tyson," Braatz says, "we would be very concerned that he wouldn't step back out."