Owens happy with change to coach Phillips

Updated: May 15, 2007, 10:43 AM ET
Associated Press

IRVING, Texas -- Terrell Owens was asked what he got out of his only season with Bill Parcells.

"Nothing, really," T.O. said Monday, the last day of the Dallas Cowboys' first minicamp since Parcells retired.

Owens obviously isn't going to miss Parcells, and has already noticed how different things are under new coach Wade Phillips.

"Everybody knows he's a laid-back coach, obviously a little different than Bill. ... I don't think you have to be a disciplinarian to get your point across," Owens said. "I think having a new head coach is good for everybody.

"It's a little bit more relaxed. I think you can tell that by the atmosphere in the locker room. I don't think I just have to really spell it out for you, but I think it's very evident."

After two operations this offseason to repair a torn tendon in his right ring finger, the same one he broke while blocking in a game in September, Owens surprised many people by taking part in the three-day minicamp.

T.O. caught passes and participated in all offensive drills without any problems from the finger.

"I don't think you have to be a disciplinarian to get your point across. I think having a new head coach is good for everybody."
-- Terrell Owens

"I didn't know if he was going to be able to practice or not," Phillips said. "But once he was cleared [by doctors], he practiced well."

When Owens had the second offseason surgery in March, he wasn't expected to be catching passes until the second minicamp in June, and maybe not even until training camp in late July.

"I don't know if I have special healing powers, or what the case may be," he said.

Owens plans to continue doing rehabilitation on his finger, but admitted that he had already caught balls from former NFL quarterback Mike McMahon in Florida before doctors cleared him for the minicamp.

With Parcells gone, Owens apparently couldn't get wait to get back on the field.

"Come out here and try to get a little work, get back to the team atmosphere. I think everybody is kind of excited about this season," he said. "If I wasn't ready, then I wasn't going to practice."

Parcells isn't missing Owens either.

In a New York Daily News column published over the weekend, Parcells said the Cowboys signing Owens last year "was not my decision. I had to do the best I could with him, which is what I tried to do."

Owens said it doesn't matter what Parcells is saying now, and that it doesn't bother him.

"It's funny, people can say a lot of things when they're gone," T.O. said. "It's really not surprising, but why would he say it now? I'm pretty sure you guys asked him that question before."

During the first two days of minicamp, Owens declined interview requests. He said he had nothing to say and that he "might" talk in June -- which would have been after he is due a $3 million roster bonus for 2007, when he is scheduled to make $5 million.

But with reporters and television cameras surrounding his locker Monday, Owens talked for nearly 20 minutes and made his most extensive comments since the season ended with a first-round playoff loss to Seattle and Parcells decided to retire.

Owens caught 85 passes for 1,180 yards and an NFL-leading 13 touchdowns -- the best season by a Cowboys receiver since Hall of Famer Michael Irvin caught 111 passes for 1,603 yards and 10 TDs in 1995, Dallas' last Super Bowl season. But Owens also led the league with 17 dropped passes.

"I could have played better, but I'm not the one to really harp on why I had the season I did," Owens said. "I'm not going to say why I had the drops I had. I knew the reason, but I didn't take the time out to make that an excuse. ... I played through an injury that I didn't really talk about, I didn't care to talk about."

There was also plenty going on with T.O. off the field last season, from an accidental drug overdose to him falling asleep in meetings and talking about not knowing the playbook.

Still, he's happy to be in Dallas.

"Definitely, no doubt," he said. "We achieved the goal of getting to the playoffs. It was unfortunate the way we lost, and everything happens for a reason. Who knows. Had we gone deeper into the playoffs, we may not have a new coach."


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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