Speaking to reporters after practice Friday, a cordial McNabb
called Owens' recently released autobiography a "children's
book," mocked the star receiver for saying he was misquoted in his
own book and disputed some of the written allegations.
McNabb and Owens helped lead the Philadelphia Eagles to the
Super Bowl during the 2004 season, but their relationship quickly
deteriorated in 2005. Owens eventually was kicked off the team and
signed with the Dallas Cowboys in March.
In "T.O.," which came out earlier this month, Owens mostly
offers his side of his tumultuous second season in Philadelphia.
McNabb joked that he should have been a co-author because Owens
mentioned the five-time Pro Bowl quarterback at length in the book.
"It won't sell unless he's talking about me," McNabb said,
adding that he didn't read the book and is waiting to play himself
in the movie.
Owens likens McNabb to a bully who spat in his mouth as a
teenager while he innocently slept on a school bus. He traces the
root of the friction to when McNabb didn't throw him the ball on a
play in a game during his first season with the Eagles.
McNabb scoffed at Owens' version of events.
"He told me, 'Hey, I was open on that. Throw me the ball,' "
McNabb said in a soft voice. "And you guys believe that, I'm sure.
I mean, you think about that."
Owens also claims that one of the offensive coaches told him
McNabb gets tense in big games.
"It's funny how they would just come to him," McNabb said
sarcastically. "Why wouldn't they just say something to me? To say
that I can't play in big games, I don't think that's a true
statement at all, so I don't get offended by anything he may have
said in his book that he was misquoted."
McNabb denied the implication that he influenced management's
decision to suspend Owens.
"I can sit here and say that's not true," McNabb said. "If I
had that much pull, a lot of changes would be made."
Though he isn't too fond of Owens the person, McNabb praised
Owens the player.
"He's a great player. He works hard. He gets out on the field
and makes plays. That's all you ask," McNabb said. "Now, what you
may get other than that, you never know nowadays."
McNabb is eager to forget about Owens and move forward following
a terrible season that was equally rough on and off the field.
Besides feuding with his former favorite receiver, McNabb played
through injuries most of the year, before he had surgery for a
sports hernia and sat out the final seven games.
The Eagles finished 6-10 and missed the playoffs for the first
time since 1999, ending a string of four consecutive appearances in
the NFC Championship Game.
A healthy McNabb is key to Philadelphia's success. But now he's
facing questions about his leadership skills because of the
perception that the locker room was divided among McNabb and T.O.
"I've never felt I lost the locker room and I don't feel I need
to get the locker room back," McNabb said. "To be honest with
you, the way that you win anything is by winning games. The way of
handling it for me is just to get out on this football field, make
plays and then win games."
After a strong start last season, McNabb struggled badly.
Overall, he passed for 2,507 yards, 16 touchdowns, nine
interceptions and had a passer rating of 85.0. He threw a costly
interception in the fourth quarter in each of his last three games,
the last being the one that Dallas safety Roy Williams returned 46
yards for a touchdown with 2:43 left to lead the Cowboys to a 21-20
comeback victory that dropped the Eagles' record to 4-5.
"The good thing in life is that you can put the past behind you
and move on and kind of create your own future," McNabb said.
"This team is definitely hungry. This team is looking forward to
getting out there and answering the critics."