Sports Outside the Beltway

T.O. Implosion Happening in Dallas?

It was only a matter of time before Terrell Owens started being a nuisance in the Dallas Cowboys clubhouse. Apparently, that time is four games into the season, half of them losses.

Terrell Owens screamed it on the sideline against Philadelphia, in the locker room after a loss and repeated it again Wednesday: “Why am I here?”

The volatile receiver admits he’s frustrated with his role on the Dallas Cowboys, but not simply because he’s off to his worst start in years. According to T.O., he’d be fine if Dallas was winning and he had mediocre statistics.

It’s the Cowboys being 2-2 combined with the reduced numbers that he can’t tolerate.

“I do have a problem when I don’t feel like I’m involved enough,” he said. “I know I can make a difference. That’s not me being arrogant. I just know what I bring to the table. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be here. … I want to win. I came here to help this team win.”

Owens spoke the entire 45 minutes the locker room was open to reporters, passionately describing his feelings on many subjects. He even revealed that the ongoing issues he’s faced the last few months, from a hamstring injury in training camp to an accidental overdose, have driven him to “sit in my house in the dark” instead of having much of a social life.

So far, at least, Owens is being careful to avoid going over the line. While expressing his frustration, he’s avoiding direct criticism of his quarterback, coach, and other teammates.

He never directly criticized quarterback Drew Bledsoe or coach Bill Parcells, the playbook or the play-calling. In fact, T.O. had few specific complaints — just the general one about not getting the ball enough. “I haven’t really gotten started yet,” he said.


Owens was mostly supportive of Bledsoe, especially compared to how he’s talked about his previous quarterbacks. He even added he is working on his route-running “to give the quarterback better looks, things of that nature.” “I think we all need to play better,” Owens said. “That was one of the things he came up to me and said. Even after the game, he sent me a text that said, ‘Stay with me,’ he’ll play better for me. You can only respect that. He’s trying his best to get the ball to me in certain situations. It’s hard when he has a lot of pressure on him.”

Bledsoe reiterated Wednesday that T.O. is a quality receiver who wants the ball and the quarterback is happy to try getting it to him. “I’ve never had a receiver, at least not one who is worth anything, that was happy with the number of times they touch the ball,” Bledsoe said. “I told him when he got here, ‘Listen, I don’t expect you to be happy all the time. If you don’t get to touch the ball enough, I don’t expect you to like that. At the same time, you have to keep playing hard for me and give me good information when you come back.’ And he’s been very good about that.”

Owens thinks he’s been good about it, too, adding he’s not trying “to come in and stir things up … to create more controversy and distraction around here.” “I wouldn’t say I’m unhappy,” said Owens, who is making $10 million this season as part of a $25 million, three-year deal. “I’m not happy about the losing. I just feel like there’s really an opportunity for something really special to happen here in Dallas with the team that we have. Once we get the nucleus of guys in the right positions to play and play as a unit, then we’re going to be OK.”

Owens’ frustrations are understandable. He’s a superstar wide receiver and isn’t getting the chance to take the team over the top. Until his QB can get time to throw–or the team makes the switch to the more mobile Tony Romo–that’s likely going to continue to be the case when they’re not playing the Tennessees and Houstons of the league.

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