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Monday, July 17, 2006
Updated: July 18, 1:04 PM ET
T.O.'s book an instant classic

By Skip Bayless
Page 2

I was wrong about Terrell Owens. He's a great guy.

(Wait, I didn't say that. I was misquoted. I said "right" and "bad," but my ghostwriter, Casper, wrote "wrong" and "great." Idiot. I just fired him.)

Sorry.

I had promised myself I would ignore Terrell Owens' latest book, but when I finally stopped laughing over the weekend, I just couldn't help myself. Maybe he's so much smarter than most media members -- especially me -- that he made this statement at a Friday book signing just to generate more publicity for his … I'm sorry, this thing doesn't deserve to be called a book.

It's just 242 pages of I'm-always-right-and-everybody-I-ever-come-into-contact-with-is-out-to-get-me.

Terrell Owens
Here's Terrell Owens signing his masterpiece.
Including, even, his agent's younger brother? Next question! Drew Rosenhaus' brother Jason apparently recorded hour upon hour of Owens' appalling self-delusion, then transcribed it and broke it into chapters.

Yet -- and are you sitting? -- Owens claims Jason misquoted him when Owens "writes" of his recovery from a broken leg to play in the Super Bowl: "If you'll forgive me for saying so … nothing short of heroic."

Now Owens says: "It was one of the words Jason used. I can't say that I called it heroic."

Stop the presses! Terrell Owens, worried he'll come off as immodest? If so, what did he call it? Nothing short of OK?

No.

Knowing Owens, he was offended that Jason chose not to use his word -- probably "miraculous," maybe "godlike." For once, Jason probably tried to save Owens from himself -- Terrell from T.O. But of course, Owens was too busy missing Dallas Cowboys minicamps to proofread the final version.

So, despite the "author's" early promise in the book -- "These are my words, straight from me to you" -- Owens publicly blames his ghostwriter for changing a word.

So T.O.: He'll even blame his agent's brother for messing up the book that people in Dallas are lining up to buy!

Buckle your chinstraps, Dallas. The battle continues to rage within this team wrecker -- Terrell versus his alter ego. T.O. is one of the most arrogantly confident players in sports. Terrell is one of the most insecure. But Terrell always wins out and begins pointing fingers because he wants to be able to blame someone else if he fails.

He'll even stoop to publicly ridiculing his agent's brother, his ghostwriter.

In San Francisco, it was Jeff Garcia's and Steve Mariucci's fault. In Philadelphia, it was Donovan McNabb's and Andy Reid's fault. In Dallas, it will be …

I cannot wait for football season.

And that's why I cannot blame Cowboys owner Jerry Jones for taking the plunge on Terrell Eldorado Owens. Jerry's desperate. He's paying Bill Parcells top dollar, and he isn't getting much playoff bang for his buck. After three years in Dallas, Parcells is 0-1 in the postseason. Yep, just one playoff game, a 29-10 loss at Carolina that ended his first season.

So Jerry forced Owens right down the throat Parcells was clearing. I have a better chance of coaching Terrell Owens than his-way-or-the-highway Parcells does, and Owens has called me names that would make Marco Materazzi blush.

But Parcells has had three years of chances. Now it's Owens' turn. Either Parcells can -- for the first time in his coaching career -- keep saying, "You're right, T.O." Or he can walk.

If Parcells can't get Jerry back to the Super Bowl for the first time since January 1996, Jerry at least will return to the spotlight. By signing the guy who first put himself on the map by shaming the Texas Stadium star, Jerry has again made his Cowboys the center of the NFL universe. No training camp will attract more media than Cowboys camp -- and they've failed to make the playoffs the last two years!

That's T.O. I admit it: I'm addicted to Team Obliterator.

Of course, reporters will gather like vultures because they'll await the first shot Owens takes at Parcells or quarterback Drew Bledsoe or even Jerry Jones. Owens can't help himself. You know he'll begin camp by saying he's finally found true happiness with a team that respects him. Then …

I'm sorry, I can bfalady tpepe -- barely type -- because I can't quit laughing.

He "writes" in his "book" that an unnamed Eagles offensive coach warned him before Philadelphia's game at Pittsburgh in 2004 to be supportive of McNabb because he can "get nervous and tight in big games." That one was pretty big. The Eagles were 7-0, the Steelers 6-1.

Bill Parcells & Terrell Owens
It could be a very long year for Bill Parcells.
Yet once the Steelers took control, Owens made a big show on the sideline of appearing to lecture McNabb, who kept trying to walk away as Owens followed. Supportive? No, Owens wanted to show the media and fans that he was trying to tell the quarterback what he did wrong and why he should be better than this.

Of course, Owens hadn't exactly been running wide open all afternoon. But he can be as shrewd as he can be thick-headed. He smelled blood: his "soulmate," Donovan's. And he was subtly shifting the blame onto the quarterback who had lost three straight NFC title games.

Yet at least McNabb -- without Owens -- had lifted his team into three straight title games. And without the injured Owens, McNabb would win the NFC on his fourth try.

But with Owens, you just can't win.

Yet that's the blessed irony of his "book." It manages to vindicate McNabb! Publicly, McNabb always came off like the guy who was just too nice to punch the bully T.O. in his big mouth. Publicly, McNabb kept taking it and taking it from Owens without taking a stand. Publicly, it looked like McNabb was losing the respect of his team.

Yet poor Owens "writes" that in the huddle, McNabb told him to "shut the (bleep) up."

Good for McNabb! Wish we'd known that then.

Poor Owens "writes" that McNabb called him at home to tell him this was his team.

Good for McNabb! Wish we'd known that then.

Prediction: With McNabb healthy and in charge again, the Eagles will finish with a better record than T.O.'s Cowboys.

But don't tell that to poor Cowboys fans right now. They're so desperate, they're a little delusional, too. The Associated Press quoted a high school football player from the Dallas area who was reading the "book" as he waited in line for Owens to autograph it.

The kid said he had just finished a book on Roger Staubach and that, "I'll read anything that has to do with football leadership."

Please tell me the kid was misquoted.

Skip Bayless can be seen Monday through Friday on "Cold Pizza," ESPN2's morning show and at 4 p.m. ET on ESPN's "1st & 10." His column appears twice a week on Page 2. You can e-mail Skip here.