Terrell Owens, having been paid ten million dollars to play for the Cowboys this season, was a good boy his first practice. Hey, it’s the off-season–this qualifies as news.
Entering the locker room before his first formal workout with the Dallas Cowboys, Owens smiled wide when he saw the throng of cameras and reporters waiting for him. He excused himself to get lip balm, smeared it on, then kept grinning throughout a 15-minute chat that might still be going on if a team official hadn’t ended it. “I’m here with a great coach, a great team, a great owner,” Owens said. “I’m looking forward to the opportunity that I can make to help this team win. That’s why they brought me in here.”
Then he went about trying to prove it. Wearing the star logo he once trashed, his fast-selling No. 81 jersey and blue tights that made him easily identifiable, Owens caught every pass thrown his way except one in a nearly two-hour practice — his first full-squad workout since being banished by the Philadelphia Eagles almost exactly seven months before. Owens repeatedly beat cornerback Anthony Henry, who ironically was signed last offseason to cover bigger receivers such as Owens. Owens even snagged one pass after slipping during his route. The only ball he didn’t catch came on one of the final plays. Cornerback Terence Newman intercepted it and ran to the end zone amid shouts of joy from safety Keith Davis.
Coach Bill Parcells presumably was impressed by his new receiver, but didn’t say. He’s refusing to answer any questions about Owens, even saying,”Who?” to an innocuous one after reminding reporters the subject was off limits until training camp.
Owens, meanwhile, answered every question. Why not? This starts his honeymoon phase in Dallas, with teammates unanimously saying how happy they are to have someone so talented on their side and everyone vowing to give him a clean slate. “I’ll be surprised if anything happens. I really will,” said quarterback Drew Bledsoe, the likeliest target of any Owens fits based on his history.”He’s been welcomed here and will continue to be as long as he’s the guy he has been in the past, in terms of his work ethic, his professionalism on the field.” Tight end Jason Witten said: “All I can do is judge him on what I see. So far, he’s been great, works really hard.”
As for his relationship with Bledsoe, both say it’s coming along great. The closest thing to a strain so far is Owens “bugging him when he is on the golf course” with text messages, the receiver jokingly said.
On Friday, the only people Owens’ presence bothered were Henry on the field and tight end Brett Pierce in the locker room. Pierce, you see, has the misfortune of having the stall next to Owens’. “I can’t get to my locker any more,” Pierce said. “Take the good with the bad, I guess.”
Indeed. If that’s the worst of it, Jerry Jones will gladly build a new locker facility just for Pierce.
There’s also an ESPN motion video report, including interviews with Owens and several of the Cowboys players.
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