IRVING, Texas -- Terrell Owens screamed it on the sideline
against Philadelphia, in the locker room after a loss and repeated
it again Wednesday: "Why am I here?"
The volatile receiver admits he's frustrated with his role on
the Dallas Cowboys, but not simply because he's off to his worst
start in years. According to T.O., he'd be fine if Dallas was
winning and he had mediocre statistics.
It's the Cowboys being 2-2 combined with the reduced numbers
that he can't tolerate.
"I do have a problem when I don't feel like I'm involved
enough," he said. "I know I can make a difference. That's not me
being arrogant. I just know what I bring to the table. Otherwise, I
wouldn't be here. ... I want to win. I came here to help this team
Owens spoke the entire 45 minutes the locker room was open to
reporters, passionately describing his feelings on many subjects.
He even revealed that the ongoing issues he's faced the last few
months, from a hamstring injury in training camp to an accidental
overdose, have driven him to "sit in my house in the dark"
instead of having much of a social life.
He never directly criticized quarterback Drew Bledsoe or coach
Bill Parcells, the playbook or the play-calling.
In fact, T.O. had few specific complaints -- just the general one
about not getting the ball enough.
"I haven't really gotten started yet," he said.
Owens has 17 catches for 232 yards and one touchdown. It's his
fewest catches after four games since 1999 and his fewest yards at
this point since 2002. His three-game streak without reaching the
end zone is his longest drought since 2000.
In a loss Sunday against the Eagles, his former team, Owens
caught only three passes for 45 yards. However, there were 13
passes thrown his way -- five more than to any other Dallas
receiver, Parcells noted Wednesday. Owens dropped one and two were
intercepted, including one that likely would've been a touchdown.
"The opportunities are there," he said. "We're just not
Owens knew when he signed with Dallas in March he was joining an
offense that wasn't designed to showcase a specific receiver.
However, he acknowledged for the first time Wednesday he expected
that to change for him -- like it did in Philadelphia.
"Dude, I am playmaker," he said. "These guys know that. It's
simple. ... Get the ball in the playmaker's hands."
Owens was mostly supportive of Bledsoe, especially compared to
how he's talked about his previous quarterbacks. He even added he
is working on his route-running "to give the quarterback better
looks, things of that nature."
"I think we all need to play better," Owens said. "That was
one of the things he came up to me and said. Even after the game,
he sent me a text that said, 'Stay with me,' he'll play better for
me. You can only respect that. He's trying his best to get the ball
to me in certain situations. It's hard when he has a lot of
pressure on him."
Bledsoe reiterated Wednesday that T.O. is a quality receiver who
wants the ball and the quarterback is happy to try getting it to
"I've never had a receiver, at least not one who is worth
anything, that was happy with the number of times they touch the
ball," Bledsoe said. "I told him when he got here, 'Listen, I
don't expect you to be happy all the time. If you don't get to
touch the ball enough, I don't expect you to like that. At the same
time, you have to keep playing hard for me and give me good
information when you come back.' And he's been very good about
Owens thinks he's been good about it, too, adding he's not
trying "to come in and stir things up ... to create more
controversy and distraction around here."
"I wouldn't say I'm unhappy," said Owens, who is making $10
million this season as part of a $25 million, three-year deal.
"I'm not happy about the losing. I just feel like there's really
an opportunity for something really special to happen here in
Dallas with the team that we have. Once we get the nucleus of guys
in the right positions to play and play as a unit, then we're going
to be OK."
But is T.O. going to be OK?
"I don't go nowhere," he said. "I don't do nothing. It's
frustrating. It's frustrating just to go (through) what I have been
going through since training camp. I've had the hamstring. Then I
break my hand. Then I go to the hospital. Then personal stuff.
"My way of venting is going out there on Sunday, trying to win
ballgames. Now it's added frustration, especially when I know we
have a good team. And the team we lost to, they know they should
have lost. We made too many mistakes to win. We are stopping
Owens watched the game film of the Eagles game with teammates
Monday ("It was sickening," he said), then saw a replay of the
Fox broadcast Tuesday night on the NFL Network.
He was still peeved Wednesday about some of the things discussed
about him, especially the repeated shots of him barking at his
"The guys in the booth are saying, 'There he goes again, he's
up to his old stuff again,"' he said. "It's very unfair. ... It
makes me hesitant to try to do what I need to do."
Besides, if he wanted to really do something shocking and get
across his message, he could always borrow from the repertoire of
his Dallas predecessor, Keyshawn Johnson.
"I need to get a shirt -- 'Give me the damn ball!"' Owens said,
smiling wide and laughing. "I am just kidding. I am just