Eagles QB says he's concentrating on winning title
McNabb said Saturday he doesn't need to work out any differences with Owens, even though the five-time Pro Bowl quarterback and the All-Pro wide receiver squabbled during the Philadelphia Eagles' tumultuous offseason.
"Everything is going to be fine," McNabb said after the defending NFC champions held their first practice at training camp. "I know you guys are looking for a story, for us to start fighting or stuff like that. Sorry if I don't give that to you, but I'm just going to be me."
Owens is due in camp with the rest of the team on Monday -- the rookies and some other players reported Friday night. Though he skipped mini-camps to protest because he wants a new contract, Owens already said he plans to show up.
McNabb looks forward to throwing to his favorite target. The flashy Owens set team records with 14 touchdown receptions and seven 100-yard games, and finished with 77 catches for 1,200 yards last season. He defied his doctor's advice, returned from a broken leg and severely sprained right ankle injury and had nine catches for 122 yards in the Super Bowl.
"I think it's good that we are finally going to put this to bed and focus on our goal, obviously to make sure we are prepared and our chemistry is where it needs to be on the offensive side," McNabb said.
Owens started the trouble when he took a shot at McNabb, saying he "wasn't the guy who got tired in the Super Bowl."
McNabb insisted he didn't get sick and wasn't tired in the fourth quarter of the 24-21 loss to New England.
"Just keep my name out of your mouth," McNabb responded. "Don't try to throw names or guys under the bus to better yourself."
McNabb said he has spoken to Owens since making those comments. However, their relationship clearly isn't the same as it once was. Owens wasn't among the seven teammates that joined McNabb for offseason workouts in Arizona.
"My parents continue to instill in my head that the best way to handle the situation is to continue to lift your chin up, understand what is going on, and continue to move forward," McNabb said.
"In a situation like this, if it's T.O. or Bernard Hopkins, whoever may decide to take shots, the best way to handle it is to be yourself and being able to understand what is at hand. What's at hand is for me to be prepared and ready to go lead this team to a Super Bowl win."
Hopkins, the former undisputed middleweight champion and a Philadelphia native, blamed McNabb for the Eagles' loss to the Patriots in a television interview in March.
McNabb is coming off his best season in six years in Philadelphia. He threw for 3,875 yards and 31 TDs, leading the Eagles to the Super Bowl after three consecutive losses in the NFC title game.
Owens and McNabb got along just fine last year, never missing an opportunity to praise each other. But Owens hasn't been popular in Philadelphia since he started complaining with his new agent Drew Rosenhaus about the seven-year, $48.97 million deal he signed after coming to the Eagles in March 2004.
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press
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