T.O. says he'll likely miss preseason opener

Updated: August 8, 2006, 12:02 PM ET
Associated Press

OXNARD, Calif. -- Terrell Owens said Monday his nagging hamstring injury likely will keep him out of the Dallas Cowboys' preseason opener Saturday night in Seattle.

Dallas Bad-boys?
Freddie Mitchell

The Cowboys added one discarded, controversial former Eagles receiver earlier this offseason. Faced with injuries on the wide receiver depth chart, they brought a second to camp over the weekend.

Veteran wideout Freddie Mitchell, who did not play last season, tried out for the Cowboys on Sunday.

Mitchell, a friend and former teammate of Terrell Owens in Philadelphia, was given a tryout at Mitchell's request, but the Cowboys are not expected to sign him in the near future, a source told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

However, according to the paper, the Cowboys did not rule out reuniting T.O. and Mitchell, who made waves by thanking his "hands for being so great" during the Eagles' Super Bowl run in 2004.

Mitchell, who has drawn more attention for his mouth than his play, was released by the Eagles after that season. He signed with the Chiefs in 2005, but was slowed by a knee injury and was released.

"I would say so," he said. "I'm not 100 percent, so I really wouldn't risk it. That's just not being smart."

Owens sat out his fifth and sixth practices Monday morning because of soreness that set in Wednesday. He said he can't give a timetable for when he expects to return, but noted that "September is when I'm needed."

An MRI taken Saturday showed no damage, but Owens isn't taking any chances.

He's having his healing-inducing hyperbaric oxygen chamber shipped from Dallas to his training camp hotel room. He's also going beyond the team's training and medical staff, flying in folks from Atlanta. One of his doctors examined him last week and several more of his team of specialists are on their way.

"I just got to go with the people I'm comfortable with," said Owens, who has never before had a hamstring injury. "Not to discredit the training staff here, but I know my body and how it responds to the treatment that they give me and what's best for me."

Owens said many of the people he's turning to are the same ones who helped him recover from a severe leg and ankle injury far sooner than anyone expected, enabling him to play for the Philadelphia Eagles in the February 2005 Super Bowl.

"So I feel very confident that I'll be ready for the season," Owens said. "I want to be on the field. Right now, I can't push it. I'm not going to push it. I'm going to be smart about it. Just talking to some of my friends, their trainers said take your time because this can become a nagging injury."

Team vice president Stephen Jones said the organization is OK with Owens bringing in his own medical staff.

"We've had that going on for 15 years, where guys have certain guys that they like to have work on them," Jones said. "That's certainly nothing new for us. It's all part of the business."

Owens said the Cowboys knew he brought in someone else last week, but he didn't know if they knew about the next wave of helpers.

"I have to do what's best for me regardless of what anybody thinks," Owens said. "These are the guys I'm very comfortable with. I'm very confident in the things that they bring to the table and their knowledge of my body because they've been with me for awhile. My health is the most important thing, despite what anybody else thinks."

Jones said he's not questioning Owens' aches despite a negative MRI.

"You've got to trust a veteran player to know his body and to know what he needs to do to prepare himself," Jones said. "You certainly have to respect something like that from a guy who has been as successful as he has."

T.O.'s status report may have come as news to coach Bill Parcells, who said "I don't know" in response to most questions about Owens' health during his daily news briefing.

"I know everything I need to know," he said. "Well, there's nothing more to know. Maybe not knowing exactly is all I'm capable of knowing at this point."

Parcells said all his information about his new star receiver's health has come through the trainer.

"I haven't spoken with Terrell about it," Parcells said. "At some point, I will if I have to."

Parcells said that's how he always deals with injuries, even with players he's known for a long time.

During both practices Monday, Owens rode a stationary bicycle -- along with fellow starting receiver Terry Glenn, who missed Monday's practices with blisters on his feet -- and did some exercises with team strength and conditioning staffers.

"Riding this bike every day I feel like Lance Armstrong or Floyd Landis," Owens said. The reference to the disgraced Landis drew some laughs, even from Owens, prompting him to add: "Everything's legal."

After team workouts, Owens went to catch balls shot from a machine. Following the morning session, he started far away from the machine and took a step closer after every ball. He did the same drill on his knees, too.

The Cowboys already were concerned about their depth at receiver, with question marks after third-stringer Patrick Crayton. On Sunday, they worked out Freddie Mitchell, Owens' friend and a former Philadelphia teammate.

Dallas also made a roster move Monday, dropping fourth-string quarterback Jeff Mroz and replacing him with Matt Baker, a rookie from North Carolina who was released last week by Houston. Undrafted rookie linebacker Kai Parham also was released.

Also Monday, linebacker Rocky Boiman fractured his right thumb during the afternoon workout.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press