T.O. tears up 49ers, but strains ab muscle

Updated: September 19, 2005, 5:53 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

PHILADELPHIA -- Terrell Owens gave Andy Reid an earful on the sideline, trying to persuade the coach to call his number one more time.

There was no argument, no heated dispute, no name-calling or calling out. It was just T.O. wanting to rub it in against his former team.

Reid simply ignored Owens and kept watching the backups finish out the Philadelphia Eagles' 42-3 victory over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.

It was not a perfect day for Owens however. Reid said in his Monday press conference that Owens strained his lower abdomen. Owens told Reid it was bothering him after the game Sunday. Reid said the Eagles will see how Owens responds to treatment over the next few days, but Owens is not expected to miss any practice time.

Owens may have been a slight nuisance on the sideline because he didn't want to come out of the game, but he was far more trouble for the defense on the field. The All-Pro wideout had five catches for 143 yards and two touchdowns -- all in the first 19 minutes -- in his first game against the team that drafted him.

Playing against the 49ers had to motivate Owens, especially after linebacker Derek Smith made some critical comments earlier in the week. Reid gave Owens extra incentive, sending him out for the coin toss as one of the team captains.

"You may think I'm crazy for saying this, but he is a pleasure to coach," Reid said Monday. "He enjoys playing the game. No matter what phase we were in during this thing, he enjoys it. He loves it and I appreciate that."

Owens certainly caused plenty of problems off the field the past several months. After helping lead the Eagles to the Super Bowl last season, Owens demanded a new contract, even though he signed a seven-year, $48.97 million deal when he came to Philadelphia in March 2004.

He feuded with quarterback Donovan McNabb, argued with offensive coordinator Brad Childress, dissed some teammates and was kicked out of training camp for a week after a verbal confrontation with Reid.

But Owens has been on his best behavior since he returned to the team in mid-August. He's reconciled with McNabb, stopped pouting and put aside his contract issues for now. More important, his performance has been more disruptive for opponents than his attitude in the locker room.

In the first two games, Owens has 12 catches for 255 yards and two TDs. Overall, the Eagles are 14-3 in the 17 games Owens has played, including the 24-21 loss to New England in the Super Bowl.

Owens has 98 catches for 1,577 yards and 16 TDs in those 17 games, and the Eagles have won 10 of them by double-digit margins, including six by 21 points or more.

"That's something special, to have the type of quarterback that Donovan is and to have the type or receiver that Terrell is," safety Brian Dawkins said. "For those guys to keep hooking up game after game, and to go into every game knowing that is potentially a touchdown waiting to happen at any given point, as a defensive player you love that. I'm definitely excited for those guys and the way they've been able to click."

Known for his flamboyant celebrations, Owens was downright boring against the 49ers. He low-fived McNabb after the first score, and stared into the crowd and nodded his head following the second one, before giving the ball to McNabb.

Owens took a crushing hit from safety Mike Rumph in the first quarter, but got right up and didn't let any taunting during the game affect him.

"Personally I like his game, he is a good receiver," 49ers safety Tony Parrish said. "He plays hard, he comes to work and he produces. What else can you ask of him as a football player? Now as a person, I don't know him, so I can't speak on it."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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