Witten denies wanting T.O. gone

Updated: April 2, 2009, 9:04 AM ET
Associated Press

DALLAS -- Cowboys tight end Jason Witten says Terrell Owens being on the field made him a better player.

What Witten won't say is that T.O. not being in the locker room will make Dallas a better team. Or that the Cowboys are now more Romo-friendly, a reference to what owner Jerry Jones has said he wanted to become this offseason for quarterback Tony Romo.

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"I don't want to look at it and say we are a better locker room," Witten said Wednesday in his public comments since the Cowboys released Owens four weeks ago. "We've got a lot of good football players. I do think that. We've got to go show it. We've got to stop talking about it."

Witten said chemistry is good when teams win, and that any real or perceived issues the Cowboys might have had last season didn't necessarily correlate to the mercurial receiver who has since signed with Buffalo.

The Cowboys, a preseason Super Bowl favorite last season, were 9-7 and missed the playoffs.

"It was a reality check for us to finish the way we did. It was disappointing," Witten said. "We just have to get back to work and not worry about expectations and take it one day at a time, one week at a time. We just have to keep stockpiling good days and don't worry about the big-picture things."

Such as life without Owens, who caught more touchdown passes (38) than any NFL receiver over the last three years and was a big part of Romo's emergence from unknown backup to Pro Bowl quarterback with a $67 million contract.

When Owens was cut, it was clearly not a move based on on-field performance. Jones talked about needed change throughout, and said then that the decision to release Owens was based on what would benefit the entire team.

Witten, whose team-high 81 catches last season were 12 more than Owens, said he "benefited tremendously" from having Owens outside. But the Pro Bowl tight end said the focus is now on the Cowboys being better in the future.

"Decisions were made and we have to move on. We wish him the best of luck. No hard feelings there," Witten said, adding he didn't know why Owens was cut and didn't like some perceptions that he and Romo pushed for the move.

"To get perceived to be in the middle of that, that bothers you," Witten said. "For people to think we're caught up in that, absolutely not. For anybody, you can't win in this league doing that kind of stuff."


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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