Saturday, September 30, 2006

Witten ready to go home

Pro Bowl TE to play in Tennessee for first time since college
By TODD ARCHER / The Dallas Morning News

IRVING – The week has been a whirlwind for Jason Witten.

The Pro Bowl tight end and his wife, Michelle, had the couple's first child, a boy, Christopher Jason, on Tuesday and on Sunday Witten returns to his home state for his first game as a professional when the Cowboys play the Tennessee Titans.

Witten grew up in Elizabethton, Tenn., about five hours from Nashville, and played at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Witten said he limited the ticket request to 15 family and friends for Sunday's game. His grandfather, Dave Rider, who coached him in high school and helped raise him, will be in attendance.

"It's a little surreal," Witten said. "You really don't know what to expect. You're getting the tickets and you have a new baby and at the same time you've got to concentrate on the game plan. You try and soak it all in."

Witten said he attended four or five Titans' games while in college.

"Me being a tight end I was watching Frank Wycheck and always trying to go scout it out and experience an NFL game," Witten said.

Witten left Tennessee after his junior year but finished as third all time for catches (68) and yards (797) by a tight end. He's not the only former Volunteer to make the trip; linebacker Kevin Burnett was a two-time captain at Tennessee.

"Hopefully there's a few cheers," Witten said, "but that's part of playing on the road."

Game-time decisions: Coach Bill Parcells will wait until game time to decide on who will return punts and who will kick off.

The return job depends on whether Terrell Owens plays or not. Jamaica Rector handled the job in Week 1, but was inactive for the second game, which allowed Terence Newman and Patrick Crayton to share the duty.

As for kicker, Shaun Suisham has four touchbacks on two games, but Parcells would rather not eat up two roster spots on kickers, but Mike Vanderjagt's kickoffs are not as good.

Watkins told to improve: Parcells said starting free safety Patrick Watkins needed to improve his tackling technique or he'll get benched. Watkins said a bruise in his left biceps prevented him from wrapping up.

"We'll see what he does under pressure," Parcells said. "He needs to practice more safety. It doesn't make any difference what the reason is he's putting himself in jeopardy."

Briefly: With a noon kickoff Sunday, Parcells moved up Friday's practice 15 minutes in order to give his players more rest.

Jones says T.O. saga tops it all

Star-Telegram Staff Writer
IRVING, Texas - In his days since he bought the team, Jerry Jones has been a part of some the most bizarre incidents and employed some of the most unique individuals in the history of the Dallas Cowboys and the NFL.

Michael Irvin was indicted for possession of cocaine, and left a scissors wound in a teammate's neck. Barry Switzer was arrested and charged with carrying a handgun through airport security. Erik Williams was charged with drunken driving after a wreck that nearly killed him. And Deion Sanders was still in Prime Time as a Cowboy.

But according to Jones, no scene and no player compared with this week's bizarre sequence involving receiver Terrell Owens.

"This one had more visibility," Jones said Friday afternoon. "It had more intense local and more interest going after it than anything I've experienced with a player or players or any situation since I've been here."

Owens was rushed to Baylor Medical Center in Dallas on Tuesday night with what he called "an allergic reaction" after mixing painkillers he was taking for a broken right hand with his usual supplements. He was released from the hospital Wednesday morning and later denied a police report that he attempted suicide. Police have reclassified the incident as an accidental overdose.

Speaking to the media for the first time since Owens was admitted to the hospital, Jones said he originally found out Tuesday evening.

"I was concerned when they told me T.O. had gotten ill and been taken to the hospital," Jones said. "I was concerned and trying to get any information that I could there during the night and was relieved when I was told that he was OK, that for all physical purposes he was going to be OK.

"I was told that probably in the early part of the evening. I really didn't hear anything about any other issues until probably about 8, 8:30 Wednesday morning."

He spoke with Owens on Thursday, and characterized the meeting as "very normal."

"Based on all of that, I don't want to use my word as 'concerned' [because] it's implied that I have knowledge about personal health issues, because I don't," Jones said. "I have no thought about information regarding personal health."

Jones watched Owens in practice Friday and said he thought he was moving well.

When asked if he would play Sunday, Owens said, "Ask Bill."

When asked how his surgically repaired right hand felt, Owens said, "Ask Bill."

The swelling around the stitches in the hand appears to have decreased significantly since Wednesday afternoon.

Of course, Cowboys coach Bill Parcells remains noncommittal whether Owens will play in Nashville against Tennessee. He did say Owens will travel with the team.

Quarterback Drew Bledsoe said, "I hope he does [play]."

As for Jones, he is happy thus far with the on-the-field performance of the receiver, who has nine catches for 99 yards with one touchdown.

"Terrell made an impact in those [two] games," Jones said. "Teams we play had to account for him and every other team will, too. He's had some injuries that concerned us before the games. But he's been diligent and very conscious of getting healthy. That was the primary thing that I had in mind when Terrell joined our team, [for him] to make that contribution."

As for the massive amount of attention Owens has generated in his short time with the Cowboys, Jones has no expectations about what might come in the future.

He just knows that "[Owens] being a part of this team," Jones said, "has been a plus in our first two games."

Owens will make the trip to Nashville tomorrow

Terrell Owens will make the trip to Nashville tomorrow with his teammates, but coach Bill Parcells is not sure if the receiver will play against Tennessee or not.

Owens practiced for the second straight day without a problem with his surgically repaired right hand. He took all the snaps he was asked to do, according to the coach, like he did Thursday.

Why wouldn't Parcells play Owens on Sunday? He said one reason is if Owens had a number of mental errors in practice, and he did not say how the player did with that during practice.

Gut feeling: he plays. Maybe not his full allotment, but he plays. Maybe this is a rouse for the Titans to think Owens is playing and Parcells will surprise them by sitting the receiver. Seems a little far-fetched to think the Titans would be caught off guard by such a move. All teams prepare as if the other team's best players will play, like the Cowboys did two weeks ago with Clinton Portis.

Posted by Todd Archer at 1:10 PM (E-mail this entry) | Comments (1)

Hurd may get start against Tennessee this weekend

by Ben Maller 09/29/06

Cowboys rookie free agent wide receiver Sam Hurd might start against Tennessee in place of his mentor, Terrell Owens. Bill Parcells said Hurd or Patrick Crayton would be the likely replacements for Owens, who is recovering from a broken hand. "If T.O. goes, hey, I'm happy for T.O.," Hurd said. "If I go, then I'm ready and prepared to go."

NFL Point Spreads For Week 4

Date & Time Favorite Spread Underdog
10/1 1:00 ET Indianapolis -9 At NY Jets
10/1 1:00 ET San Diego -2.5 At Baltimore
10/1 1:00 ET At Buffalo -1 Minnesota
10/1 1:00 ET Dallas -9.5 At Tennessee
10/1 1:00 ET At Kansas City -7 San Francisco
10/1 1:00 ET At Carolina -7 New Orleans
10/1 1:00 ET At Atlanta -7.5 Arizona
10/1 1:00 ET Miami -3.5 At Houston
10/1 4:05 ET At St. Louis -6 Detroit
10/1 4:15 ET At Cincinnati -6 New England
10/1 4:15 ET Jacksonville -3 At Washington
10/1 4:15 ET Cleveland -3 At Oakland
10/1 8:15 ET At Chicago -3.5 Seattle

Monday Night Football Point Spread

10/2 8:30 ET At Philadelphia -11 Green Bay

D. Woodson comment on the SportsBash

Originally posted by proline from a sports forum:

This afternoon on ESPN's "Sports Bash", Darren Woodson was asked when he saw that this team was really crumbling. He said the 1998 draft, but he specifically mentioned Dwayne Goodrich, so he must have meant the 2000 draft.

His comment was that as soon as he saw Goodrich at Spring mini-camps, he knew the kid couldn't play. He went on to say that he knew then that every one of the guys picked in that draft would never be any good.

In fairness, if Galloway and McNight had not been so injury prone, at least two of our seven picks (we traded our 1st and our 3rd for Galloway and McNight) would have been nice. But the analysis of the talent coming out of college was definitely way off base that year.

BTW, Woodson also said that he didn't think this TO pill-gate would be a distraction to the team. He said if we lose this Sunday, the blame will be put on the distractions of pill-gate, but the reality will be poor play.

Newman takes charge as Owens Protector

T.O. Won't Say if He'll Play Vs. Titans

Terrell Owens sat at his locker Friday flexing his swollen right hand, smiling and saying little. After practicing for the second straight day, the Dallas Cowboys receiver seemed in good spirits and on track to play Sunday. But Owens, who will travel to Tennessee, refused to say if he would play against the Titans and reminded the media surrounding him that he talks on Wednesdays.

"You can go on and migrate around," teammate Terence Newman told reporters, standing in front of Owens and pointing to other lockers. "Thank you for coming out."

Owens had only a small bandage over the scar on his hand from surgery Sept. 18, a day after he broke a bone near his ring finger in his home debut for the Cowboys.

When asked about the swelling, Owens said, "It's gone down a lot."

Coach Bill Parcells said Owens has done everything he's been asked to do in practice this week. Still, Parcells said he hasn't decided if the receiver would play against the Titans.

"The injury status has not changed, and we're going to make some game-time decisions as to who's going to participate," said Parcells, who will talk to trainers Saturday.

He hadn't sat down with Owens yet, but the coach said he "would have time to do that."

Owens could play at the end of a week in which he was hospitalized for mixing painkillers prescribed for his hand injury with his usual supplements, then had to deny a police report that he had attempted suicide. On Thursday, Dallas police closed their investigation, calling it an "accidental overdose."

Now, Owens might not even miss a game, despite having a metal plate screwed into the bone he broke Sept. 17 against the Washington Redskins. The Cowboys had a bye last weekend.

Within hours after he left the hospital Wednesday, Owens was on the field catching passes from Drew Bledsoe and Tony Romo. He returned to practice with the full team Thursday.

The finger didn't appear to bother Owens during the 15 minutes of practice open to the media Friday. Wearing receiving gloves with padding protecting the injury, he caught balls with his hands in front of his body, and readjusted on one pass over his shoulder to make a fingertip catch in the back of the end zone during a drill.

Generally, players who practice Thursday and Friday for Parcells are available for games.

So, why wouldn't Owens play Sunday?

"Just if I thought there was an inordinate number of mental errors or something that didn't look like he was up to speed for the game," Parcells said.

The coach wouldn't say if Owens had had any such problems.

"I'm not commenting on that, what I think about that," Parcells said. "You're going to have to wait."

Parcells said he wasn't qualified to offer a public opinion on the off-the-field drama surrounding Owens and stopped short of calling it a distraction.

"We're a little early in the season to be passing judgment on what's going to happen," Parcells said. "I think we need to let these guys go forward and settle down to a little more normal pace. Hopefully we'll get good production out of everybody and go forward from there. That's what I'm hoping we do."

Friday, September 29, 2006

Parcells says he won't make a decision on who his kicker will be until just prior to game

Cowboys head coach Bill Parcells says he won't make a decision on who his kicker will be until just prior to game time against Tennessee.

Vanderjagt scored ten points in his only game as the team's kicker. He's likely to be the man again.

Owens dismisses trainer who revealed private struggles

By MICHAEL GRANBERRY / The Dallas Morning News

James "Buddy" Primm, Terrell Owens' personal trainer, said Thursday that the Cowboys wide receiver had relieved him of his services and was no longer speaking to him.
In a telephone conversation with The Dallas Morning News, Mr. Owens acknowledged as much and said Mr. Primm "had no business" discussing details of his private life with the news media.

Mr. Primm, 55, said Wednesday that Mr. Owens had been distraught over not being able to see his son, who celebrated his 7th birthday Monday. Hours later, he said, the receiver's fiancée, a woman he had dated for three years, ended their engagement.
"He shouldn't have been telling you anything about my personal life anyway," Mr. Owens said. "That's where it stops – right there. He should have never said anything remotely involving me or my personal life, especially my son or even my ex-girl."
A resident of Georgia, where Mr. Owens makes his off-season home, Mr. Primm began training the wide receiver seven years ago, when Mr. Owens played for the San Francisco 49ers.

He says he cares deeply for Mr. Owens and loves him like a son, one whose fatherless childhood took place in abject poverty in rural Alabama and who was raised by his mother and grandmother. Mr. Owens apparently went for years without knowing that a man who lived on his street was his father.

Provide structure
"The background that I've had," Mr. Primm said Wednesday, "it's enabled me to take a very special person who, if he stays within a structure, would be able to accomplish anything. I believe I'm one of the people who can help provide that structure."
As for playing the role of a father figure, he said, "There's never been one there. ... My thing is helping other people. I enjoy that. I'm a Christian. It gives me a feeling of fulfillment. I like to do the best I can and be the very best at it."

Mr. Primm calls his style "hands-on and personal." Until recently, he had been living with Mr. Owens at Mr. Owens' newly purchased loft in the shadow of Fair Park.
Mr. Owens said Mr. Primm was inexperienced in dealing with the news media.
'Can't trust nobody'

"He is a victim of what I have fallen victim to over the course of my career," Mr. Owens said. "He shouldn't have said anything about my personal life – period. Now I really have to be guarded as far as who I talk to. If I can't trust my own trainer, I can't trust nobody."

Kim Etheredge, Mr. Owens' publicist who, on occasion, also shares Mr. Owens' home, called 911 on Tuesday when Mr. Owens had accidentally overdosed – which led police to believe he had attempted suicide.

After a rigorous workout Tuesday, Mr. Owens said he downed several prescription pain pills for the hand he injured this month, despite having consumed 30 tablets – natural supplements supplied by Mr. Primm – earlier that day.

As a trainer, Mr. Primm is widely regarded as one of the best in the business. He helped Mr. Owens heal rapidly from a broken leg in 2004 and play only weeks later in Super Bowl XXXIX.

Mr. Primm says the receiver's recovery was aided by a battery of new-age devices he introduced to the athlete. They include a $40,000 laser designed to stimulate blood flow to injured parts of the body. He also uses a hyperbaric chamber and a microcurrent machine.

Mr. Owens has counted on Mr. Primm not only to sculpt his body but also to help him overcome a series of injuries. When Mr. Owens pulled his hamstring during Cowboys training camp in Oxnard, Calif., he flew in Mr. Primm to oversee his rehabilitation.
And his approach has worked well enough to enable the wide receiver to play as early as this Sunday, Mr. Primm said. The Cowboys will travel to Nashville to face the Tennessee Titans.

Owens' saga hasn't distracted Cowboys

Tom Orsborn
Express-News Staff Writer

IRVING – Before stepping into the Cowboys locker room Wednesday afternoon, I had my doubts about whether this young team was mentally strong enough to handle the latest commotion involving Terrell Owens.

But after talking to several players, I'm confident the did-he-or-didn't-he suicide saga won't become a major distraction. Write it down: The Cowboys will beat the Titans by 17 points Sunday.

The drama surrounding Owens' preseason hamstring injury served the Cowboys well, giving them a first-hand look at how any story involving T.O. can quickly become national news.

"Because of the reputation that T.O. has, because of the attention that has been around him in the past, anything that happens turns into a bigger deal," quarterback Drew Bledsoe said. "I understand that. We understand that as a team."

The tension eased considerably Wednesday after Owens arrived at practice less than two hours after being released from the hospital. Seeing Owens looking no different than he looked the day before prompted linebacker Bradie James and others to poke fun at No. 81.

"We had our way with him," James said. "We had some fun with him. He was out there running, so everything is fine.

"That's what we do as teammates," James added. "If you're not dying and you come back and are walking around, we are going to have fun with you. We know him. He loves himself too much to even think (of suicide). He's always in here with a towel and nothing else on. He's not going to do anything to endanger himself."

And as frustrating as Bill Parcells' Sergeant Schultz "I know nothing" routine was during his media briefing Wednesday, his refusal to delve into Owens' psyche once again prevented a big story from becoming even bigger.

Of course, every team and every coach can just take so much. If Owens continues to generate the wrong type of news, this team too may crack. But for now, they seem to be immune to a story even as bizarre as this one.

Five reasons why the Cowboys beat the Titans
1. The offense, with Julius Jones picking up where he left off against the Redskins, is poised to overpower a defense that's ranked 29th in the league and is allowing 386 yards and 25.3 yards per game.

2. Parcells' prediction that DeMarcus Ware is about to go nuts comes true and he flattens Kerry Collins at least three times.

3. Vince Young replaces Collins early and plays like a rookie instead of a Heisman Trophy-winning legend.

4. Shaun Suisham booms his kickoffs, Mat McBriar continues to punt like Ray Guy and Mike Vanderjagt makes another 50-yard field goal.

5. Roy Williams continues to play like the league's best safety.

Five reasons why the Cowboys lose to the Titans
1. The Titans defense, energized by their five-sack performance last week against the Dolphins and Daunte Culpepper, steps up and harasses Bledsoe.

2. Vince Young relieves Collins and shows the form that made him arguably the greatest player in Texas history.

3. The Titans' running back trio of Travis Henry, Chris Brown and first-round pick LenDale White combine for 150-plus yards.

4. The Cowboys get caught looking past Tennessee to their Oct. 8 showdown with the Eagles in Philadelphia.

5. The latest ruckus involving Owens proves to be too much of a distraction for a young team that is sometimes mentally soft.

Parcells won't allow his team to fall victim to a trap game, but the big difference is a Cowboys offense that generates big numbers on the ground against a Titans defense that is yielding 163.7 yards per game.

Cowboys 31, Titans 14

Incident will help T.O.'s image

By Scoop Jackson
Page 2

You always want to give doubt the benefit. The benefit that inside of all three sides to every story, the truth of the matter, even if not found, can be someone's salvation.

When the story broke that Terrell Owens attempted to commit suicide by an overdose of pain medication Tuesday night, the benefit of doubt given to most athletes flew out the window.

But then …

Then everything began to unfold. Suspect police report, suspect medical information, suspect initial statement released from Owens' publicist Kim Etheredge, suspect news reporting. By the time Bill Parcells spoke to the media conference without even being fully briefed on the status of the situation, the doubt that usually surrounds everything T.O. suddenly became his benefit.

For the first time in a very long time it looked as if Terrell Owens had been wronged.

As he sat up there while cameras flashed and reporters fought to ask questions, Owens seemed to have a sense of credibility embracing his being that he's never had before. Although honest in his mind almost to a fault, in most cases, Owens basically broke the incident down as an "unfortunate situation."

A distraction. A dramatic episode. Another T.O. thing.

But this time it wasn't. This time it seemed that being T.O. finally caught up with T.O.; that his past behavior and antics led a nation to almost believe that the man who "loves me some me" more than anyone in professional sports would attempt to end a life and career that he loves more than anything in the world.

But his aura obscured the facts. Blinded reason. Created extreme reaction.

"The I took 35 pills is absurd," he said to reporters at the Cowboys' practice facility after catching balls with Drew Bledsoe and Tony Romo. "And rumors that I had my stomach pumped are definitely untrue.

"It's very unfortunate for the reports to go from an allergic reaction to a definite suicide attempt."

Most of that unfortunate has been of his own creation -- everything he's done that made this last incident seem plausible. But he sat there -- no BS, no ulterior motive, no prepared statement, no "I'm the victim" comments. This time he was the victim.

An overreaction of a publicist, the overzealous Dallas police department, an estranged and strange relationship between star player and coach all led to Terrell Owens having his moment of clarity and credibility. The moment when he can say this is what he's been talking about all along. How if this were any other player in the NFL, there may have been some belief in the initial reports but the rush to judgment would have been totally different.

This was his boy-that-cried-wolf moment. Unlike that boy, T.O. lived to tell us about it. He survived for his vindication.


Because there is still that lingering belief that this isn't over and that this is just the beginning. And although media elite from Dan Le Batard to Sal Paolantonio believe Owens' side of the saga, there are millions who feel that the next dramatic T.O. story that comes out of Dallas will be less a case of confusion and miscommunication and more of the same that's become T.O.'s m.o.

As wrong as it was to instantly believe that Owens had attempted suicide, it would be naïve to think that something like this from him wouldn't be far-fetched. And more than the speculation of facts in this story, that's where the true tragedy rests.

As former Eagles fullback Jon Ritchie said on ESPNEWS, "[T.O.] would never do anything to hurt his chances to get back on that football field -- and committing suicide would probably hurt those chances."

Funny. And as crazy as this sounds, Terrell Owens probably needed something like this to happen to give himself a chance with the public and the media the next time something goes down. He needed this dramatic, over-sensationalized, falsely interpreted incident to help the persistent question of his character.

Terrell Owens needed something to be wrong about him to make him right with the world.

It's just sad, for us, that it took a report that he wanted to end his life to make our doubts his benefit.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

NFL Network's Adam Schefter says Terry Glenn (hand) will play Sunday

Glenn wasn't on the injury report, so this isn't surprising.

Woman problems may have lead to the TO saga

Trainer cites physical, emotional setbacks
11:23 PM CDT on Wednesday, September 27, 2006
By MICHAEL GRANBERRY / The Dallas Morning News

Terrell Owens' longtime personal trainer said Wednesday that "a perfect storm" of physically and emotionally devastating events conspired to put the superstar receiver into a tailspin that resulted in a trip to the emergency room Tuesday.

Those events also generated what the trainer called "erroneous" reports of a suicide attempt.

"A lot of things were coming to a head anyway, and then this happened," said James "Buddy" Primm, 55, who until earlier this month, had been living with Owens in his loft on Commerce Street, in the shadow of Fair Park.

Primm said Owens underwent two traumatic events Monday involving his 7-year-old son and his fiancée, a woman he has dated for three years.

Owens' son, from a previous relationship, celebrated his birthday Monday, Primm said. Owens was distraught, he said, about not being able to be see the boy, who lives in California.

"He wanted to get together with the boy," Primm said. "But the boy could not come here, and Terrell could not go there."

Then hours later, a woman whom Primm described as Owens' fiancée broke off the relationship. Primm declined to give the woman's last name but said she and Owens had been dating for three years. She also lives in California.

"That's been coming on forever," Primm said of the breakup. "She's not a bad girl. She's cool, she's fine. He said, 'Can I take a break from the engagement?' And she said, 'No, let's just put a stop to it.' And that was a complete surprise to Terrell."

Primm, who lives in Duluth, Ga., near Owens' off-season residence in Atlanta, has known the Cowboys receiver for seven years. They met when Owens played for the San Francisco 49ers, "exactly 16 weeks before he stood on the star" during a game at Texas Stadium.

That happened during the 2000 season, and Primm says that since then the two have forged a father-son-like bond that Owens seems to need. Growing up in abject poverty in rural Alabama, Owens was raised by his mother and grandmother and, according to Primm, has long been in need of a dominant male figure in his life.

"He's getting to be like my son," said Primm, who returned to his home in Georgia last week. He plans to return to Dallas in the next few days to be with Owens.

Owens "doesn't have many friends," said the trainer, who contends that the public and news media have long misperceived a man he considers "a gentle soul" and a "caring, highly sensitive" individual with a fragile psyche.

"He's a good person," Primm said. "A very good person."

Primm said he had been in touch with Owens and members of the player's inner circle on Wednesday. He said that after hearing the chronology of Tuesday's events, he understood why and how the incident took place and that suicide wasn't an issue.
FILE / Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Terrell Owens' longtime trainer, James "Buddy" Primm, with a client in 1997, says the Cowboys receiver is dealing with, among other things, the end of a three-year relationship with his fiancée.

"He probably took the pain medication and fell off to sleep," Primm said. "Then when he gets up, of course he's going to be weird."

Before arriving at the Cowboys' practice facility at Valley Ranch on Tuesday, Owens spent the morning addressing students at a local high school about the perils of domestic abuse and how it's not their fault should their parents choose to fight.

"It's an issue he cares about," Primm said.

Owens reported to the Cowboys' practice facility at 11:30 a.m. and worked out "hard," Primm said, catching "bullets" from quarterbacks Drew Bledsoe and Tony Romo for the first time since last week's surgery on his broken right hand.

And for the first time since the surgery, Owens felt serious pain, the trainer said, noting that until Tuesday night, Owens had not been on a regular routine of taking pain medication "because he hadn't needed to."

The receiver left Valley Ranch around 4 p.m. Tuesday and drove home in rush-hour traffic, arriving at his Exposition Park loft around 5:30 p.m.

That's when the physical trauma began.

At Primm's direction, Owens had been taking about 30 supplements a day, up from his normal six, "to accelerate the healing process," the trainer said. The supplements included "all different types of calcium, all different types of magnesium ... a few different types of glandulars," Primm said. "Things for the immune system, to get blood to that area."

He said he had also been using a $40,000 laser device on Owens' injury.

"Five minutes on the bottom of the hand, five minutes on the top" first thing in the morning, Primm said. That had accelerated the healing process, he said, in addition to another device about the size of a breadbox, into which Owens inserted a gloved hand wrapped in a towel to help "dissolve scar tissue."

Primm said that under normal circumstances, the machine designed to remove scar tissue "just knocks you out. It makes you sleepy."

He said the machine has the dual effect of "getting rid of scar tissue and of cells the body isn't using." Such therapy is vital, he said, in allowing bones to heal as rapidly as possible.

It was Primm who introduced Owens to such devices and to the hyperbaric chamber, which he said enabled the athlete to play in Super Bowl XXXIX in February 2005 for the Philadelphia Eagles, despite suffering a broken leg only weeks before.

But the combination of this week's events was apparently too much, the trainer said.

As for what comes next, Primm predicts that Owens will play Sunday against the Tennessee Titans. And how will he fare for the rest of the season?

"Great," the trainer said.

Another Day at the Ranch

by Brad Sham

IRVING, Texas - A fellow asked on some radio show from somewhere during training camp if this Terrell Owens stuff, with the not practicing and the bicycle jersey and whatnot, was the biggest circus these eyes had seen in Camp Cowboy.

Hardly, we said, recalling an early camp chat with team PR director Rich Dalrymple, who knows not only where the circus is but where the ringmaster keeps his whistle. We agreed that Owens' arrival may be causing a national fuss, but around this franchise, with everything in its history, this was just another day at the office.

Once you've endured Super Bowls and White Houses and Deions and coaches with guns, Owens is nothing. This is a franchise that before anyone ever heard of Jerry Jones and Jimmy Johnson gave the world Duane Thomas and Thomas Henderson and Rafael Septien and Lance Rentzel and North Dallas Forty.


As Jimmy might have said, "Please."

After Wednesday, I am prepared to re-think my answer. This may have been the most off-the-hook day in the history of hooks. And days. We've seen a lot of things happen around here, but not many publicized national suicide watches that were denied within sixteen hours by the reported victim.

None of it would have been possible, of course, were it not for Owens. Yet most of the out of control, bizarre cyclone of news and rumor had almost nothing to do with him.

It has to do with police reports and a media world gone haywire. It has to do with four-hour news cycles and Internets and satellites and blogs. Terrell Owens is a lightning rod because he has made himself that, and we buy in. We fans and we media, we make it possible for him to be him by setting new standards for irresponsible overreaction at every opportunity.

Something ridiculously wrong happened with Terrell Owens Tuesday night. Maybe he was despondent and tried to do himself harm. Solid reporting will give us insight into that in the next couple of days. Maybe he accidentally took too much medication that made him give a wrong answer to a police question. This much we know: Owens could stand before reporters and deny a suicide attempt, as he did Wednesday, and still many choose to not believe him. They say he is hiding something, spinning. Maybe he is. I don't know. And neither do some of the people who say they know.

Wednesday afternoon, Kim Etheredge, Owens' publicist, followed his exchange with reporters with a statement denying saying she had told police Owens was depressed. Now we have the murky world of conflicting reports. Someone is telling less than the truth, and we're going to choose to blame someone with a personal publicist.

You know what? That's fine. Where Terrell Owens is concerned, we slip out of the world of football and into the world of celebrity, and the rules there, it appears, are different from anything the rest of us know about. There are serious issues here, though, that ought not get lost in the shouting.

One is that apparent circumstances do not dictate state of mind. Owens couldn't be suicidal, because he loves himself too much. As Etheridge unfortunately said, "Terrell has 25 million reasons not to harm himself." Hey lady: We're trying to find out your guy's state of mind, and millions of fans want to know how all this impacts their team. This is not the time we want to hear about his money.

But besides that, you ought to know this: You don't have to be broke, unemployed and homeless to be depressed. You don't have to be alone to be lonely and you can hide it from everyone but yourself. Do not judge someone else's state of mind nor reproach them for having demons because you don't think they should, since they have fame and money.

There's another issue that one fears is beyond solving: In the internet-cable-satellite world of Right Now, getting the story first is more important than getting it right. If Owens is to be believed, and we have spoken to health care professionals who say it makes sense, he took some wrong amounts of medication and didn't understand the questions he was answering from police. Those answers led to what should have been a preliminary police report that quoted Owens as saying he intended to harm himself. Once that report got into media hands, it would have been wrong of any media outlet not to have reported that.

But somewhere today there's probably some Dallas police personnel minus a few layers of hide for letting that report get into media hands. Much as the reporter in me wants to admire the news professional who got that report, the citizen in me wants to demand it never happen again, if misinformation was dispensed.

And the news professional is profoundly embarrassed and disappointed at the people who went on the air and on the Internet and dispensed about four or five hours worth of wisdom and speculation about Owens' mental health and the impact on the football team without even knowing what had happened or when or to whom.

Opinions were formed and shared and judgments made without so much as talking to a person involved. We understand about filling time. Our question is, why could it not be filled with people saying, "We ought to wait until the facts are in," instead of talking about how Bill Parcells couldn't possibly keep his team together with this shocking suicide attempt that masked some deep dark secret.

So we're down to this: Did Owens try to harm himself? Who knows? What does the answer matter if we don't believe him? Assume what you wish. Part of the problem is that this man comes with the baggage of disbelief, when maybe we should be practicing clean slates and second chances.

This much is certain: By the time Thursday lunch rolls around, most of the public will only want to know how this impacts the Cowboys chances Sunday in Nashville, Tenn., and for the season. For an answer, let's call on my partner on he Cowboys' radio broadcasts, former Cowboys safety Charlie Waters.

Waters was in the early days of his Cowboys career when the team was preparing for a playoff game. A playoff game, mind you, and came the news that talented but troubled receiver Lance Rentzel, who was married to bombshell singer-actress Joey Heatherton, was arrested the day before the game for indecent exposure.

"Coach (Tom) Landry told us the night before the game that Lance wouldn't be playing the next day and here was why," Waters recalled Wednesday. "We all said, 'He did what?'"

And they went out and won the game.

Say a prayer for Terrell Owens and demand much, much better from the police and the media.

The football team will be fine.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

T.O.'s trainer rejects attempted suicide theory

Posted: Sep.27, 2006, 2:12 pm EDT
By Mike Chiappetta

James "Buddy" Primm has been at Terrell Owens' side for several years as his personal trainer. They met after Owens' 1999 season, and Primm helped the then-49ers wideout transform from what he called a "skinny kid" to the physical specimen and perennial Pro Bowler starring for the Dallas Cowboys. Owens has called Primm the "foundation" for his career.

When Owens had to return from a broken bone to play in the Super Bowl, Primm was the man who nursed him along. And though Primm wasn't in Dallas during Owens' recent hospitalization, the man who is part of T.O's inner circle says he knows the Cowboys' receiver well enough to doubt T.O. would ever try to take his life.

"No. No way he'd ever do that," he said. "The guy doesn't drink, doesn't smoke, doesn't even take painkillers."

Primm said he's spoken to Owens since being hospitalized and that he seemed normal. He added that he'll be heading to Dallas to be with T.O.

"Just seemed normal on everything. Freaked out? Scared? No, nothing. He just went through something traumatic, and we'll get it together, and he'll be OK."

People inside Owens' camp suggested that his mixing of painkillers and nutritional supplements caused a bad reaction. Primm agrees with the likelihood, believing the fact that Owens does not drink alcohol or normally use pain medication would make him more susceptible to such a reaction.

"It could happen easy," he said. "People need to know that that his system is so sensitive. Have you ever been out with a friend who takes one drink and is knocked out because he doesn't normally drink? That could be what happened on this deal. His body is so sensitive."

Primm said that while Owens usually takes five or six supplements such as multivitamins and multi-minerals, he has recently upped his supplement intake to more than 20 to help heal his finger. He also undergoes micro-current therapy on his finger, a treatment which helped him return from a broken ankle in six weeks to play in Super Bowl XXXIX. Micro-current is electrical stimulant administered at different frequencies to help the cells eliminate scar tissue while increasing blood flow. Owens' workout routines are so advanced, Primm refers to them as "Star Wars" techniques.

"It's a totally different ballgame with him. You can take some of those horse medications like players used in the '60s to come back, but those affect your motor skills. He's able to come back because we use different technologies. That's how he came back from that leg. That was absolutely amazing. So he's really taken hardly any painkillers ever. So it will affect his system since he wouldn't normally even take it."

Primm believes that from a physical standpoint, Owens is nearly ready to return.

"I want that finger right, and then he'll go. He could probably play right now if he had to. Right now it's just emotional trauma, but I know that's going to get cleared up. "I'm going to make a positive out of a negative. Everybody loves Terrell.

"I'm going to go out (to Dallas) and make sure we're back in structure. But as far as the games, I want him in the Tennessee game."

Owens denied trying to commit suicide at his press conference

Terrell Owens denied trying to commit suicide at his press conference. He said he should be able to play Sunday.

"I am not depressed," Owens said. He claims being "out of it" when police officers asked him questions because of a mix of supplements and his pain medication. His publicist also denied nearly all claims from the police report. Perhaps the clearest sign Owens is not in any danger: He caught balls from Drew Bledsoe and Tony Romo Wednesday and says he is ready to play. His publicist ended his presser with a classic line, "Terrell has 25 million reasons to be alive."

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Dallas Morning News reports that WR Terry Glenn (hand) practiced Tuesday

The Dallas Morning News reports that WR Terry Glenn (hand) practiced Tuesday.

The newspaper suggests that Glenn "somehow cut his thumb while taping himself before Monday's practice." If healthy, he figures to have a big impact in Week 4 with WR Terrell Owens out.
Source: Dallas Morning News

Stakes, not T.O. hype, main attraction Oct. 8

By JAIME ARON / Associated Press

It's no secret that Terrell Owens has been looking forward to the Oct. 8 Cowboys-Eagles game in Philadelphia since the schedule was released.
The logical assumption has been that T.O.'s eagerness is all about getting revenge on his former team for all the things he feels went wrong during his stormy 1 1/2 seasons in Philly.

But maybe we were selling him short. Perhaps he realized months ago the game would be an early season clash between division favorites, with the winner getting the inside track in the NFC East race, especially if it's the Cowboys who walk away winners.

OK, maybe not.

Still, the closer the game gets, the more that Owens' return looks like a mere sideshow and the game itself looks like a good one. Or, at least, an important one.

(Yes, Dallas plays Tennessee this upcoming Sunday, but the Titans are 0-3 and the only thing worse than their offense is their defense. So let Bill Parcells fret about taking 'em one game at a time and not looking ahead. We're not bound by that. And with no game to rehash and no controversies over quarterbacks, kickers or T.O., the Philadelphia game is an even juicier target.)

After only three weekends, the New York Giants and Washington Redskins are struggling and the Cowboys and Eagles already are starting to pull away. A head-to-head victory would provide a bump between the top two.

Dallas has slightly more to gain in the clash with Philadelphia because the Cowboys already won their only division game. The Eagles lost their first one, to the Giants, by blowing what seemed like a sure win after three quarters.
New York gets kudos for that plucky comeback. But the momentum and confidence supposedly generated by it was short-lived.

The Giants were thumped so soundly in the first quarter against Seattle on Sunday that it was as if they were knocking themselves down to see if they could rally again. That's no way to build a contender, something Jacksonville is likely to prove to them again this weekend.

The Cowboys have seen firsthand what the Redskins are like. That impression means more than the clinic Mark Brunell put on Sunday against the Houston Texans. (Note to Drew Bledsoe: You'll get to pad your stats against that same defense soon, too. The week after playing the Eagles, in fact.)

Washington's five-game winning streak to close last season is reason enough not to count out Joe Gibbs' team yet. But it's fair to put them on alert.
Then there's Philadelphia.

The Eagles have played so well in all but the fourth quarter against New York that they must be considered more like the team that went to four straight NFC title games than the club that went 6-10 while ruined by injuries and infighting last season.

Donovan McNabb has thrown for the most yards in the NFL and has the top rating in the NFC. Stats can be out of whack this early in the season, but these numbers scream that McNabb has overcome his physical woes of last season and whatever questions about his ability and character were raised by his ordeal with Owens.

Philadelphia's biggest flaw is defense. It didn't show Sunday against San Francisco, but the recent loss of Jevon Kearse is likely to be a problem down the road.

What about the Cowboys?

Answers are hard to come by after only eight quarters. The only common problem between the loss in Jacksonville and the win at home against Washington was penalties, and that should be fixable since many involve mental lapses.

A benefit of the early bye is that coach Bill Parcells was able to work on the things that bothered him most. He also was able to spend extra time on the plays and schemes Dallas likely will use in the coming weeks — specifically Oct. 8 against Philadelphia, Oct. 23 against the New York Giants and maybe even Nov. 5 at Washington.

After that second game against the Redskins, the Cowboys will be halfway through with their season and four-sixths of the way through their division schedule.

We'll know a lot more about their playoff chances then.
But we'll have a pretty good idea after seeing how things go Oct. 8.

T.O. expected to practice Wednesday

IRVING, Texas - The Cowboys might be without one of their starting wide receivers Sunday at Tennessee, but not both.

Terrell Owens missed practice again Tuesday while his surgically-repaired right hand continues to heal, but Cowboys head coach Bill Parcells said Owens will "do some" work with the team Wednesday. And Terry Glenn fully participated Tuesday despite suffering a minor laceration to his thumb on Monday.

Glenn hasn't missed any time this week because Parcells didn't hold a full practice on Monday. The veteran receiver evidently nicked his thumb while attempting to cut tape off his uniform, according to Parcells.

"And he had his hand down in his pants and he missed," Parcells said. "Fortunately he cut his hand."

Parcells' unintentional quip drew some chuckles from the media, but the prospect of losing two starting receivers would have been no laughing matter.

Parcells hasn't ruled out the possibility of Owens returning Sunday against the Titans (noon, CDT), a potential 13-day turnaround from last Monday's procedure to stabilize the fractured fourth metacarpal just below his right ring finger. Last week's bye gave Owens more time to heal.

"The swelling has gone down pretty good," Parcells said. "He has caught some balls and he ran a lot today. Tomorrow he'll do something."

Owens hasn't practiced since undergoing surgery, but he began running heavily during last Friday's practice and caught a few passes on Tuesday.

"The first day he said I was throwing like a girl, so today I was throwing some bullets to him," rookie receiver Sam Hurd joked. "You can see it hurts still, but it's a lot of progress because he's catching the ball."

Owens declined to speak to reporters until Wednesday, but he appeared to be in good spirits. As he left the locker room for a few minutes, Owens playfully tried to duck behind a trash can to avoid the cameras.

Parcells believes Owens will maintain his conditioning level, and the surgically-inserted metal plate in his hand is designed to stabilize the fractured bone and accelerate the healing process. The only remaining hurdle is tolerating enough pain to catch those zip passes from quarterback Drew Bledsoe.

"If he can withstand it (the pain), he can play," Parcells said. "You don't have to worry about the displacement or anything like that. It's anchored down there pretty good."

If Parcells decides to make Owens inactive against Tennessee (0-3), there's a good chance he'd be able to return Oct. 8 against his former Eagles teammates. In the meantime, the rest of the Cowboys' receivers will prepare for increased roles in case he can't play.

Parcells has said he probably wouldn't move third-year receiver Patrick Crayton into the starting lineup because he wants Crayton to continue playing on the nickel and spelling Glenn in standard sets. That means Hurd or possibly first-year backup Jamaica Rector would start if Owens is inactive. Rookie free agent Miles Austin also made the 53-man roster but hasn't been active for either of the Cowboys' first two games.

Rector forced his way onto the roster with a team-high 20 preseason catches for 245 yards, and Hurd started three preseason games while Owens nursed a sore left hamstring.

"Just who I think will do the best job," Parcells said when asked about potentially deciding among his young receivers. "I mean, again this is a problem here and we've got several moving parts that are a little uncertain right this minute, but as I say, we're early in the week."

Hurd has impressed Parcells with his knowledge of multiple positions. The undrafted rookie from Northern Illinois spent time working with Owens each day after practice while the Cowboys were stationed in Oxnard, Calif., for training camp.

"They're just saying keep practicing hard," Hurd said. "Don't try to be Superman out there. Just practice hard and keep doing what I've been doing since I got here."

Owens' return would pose even more problems for the Titans' 29th-ranked defense, which did a better job in last Sunday's 13-10 loss to Miami. The Tennessee defense held Dolphins quarterback Daunte Culpepper to 168 yards and zero touchdowns, along with sacking him five times.

At least Parcells only has to worry about one receiver's health right now. Owens, Glenn and Crayton were all sidelined with injuries at one point during training camp.

And Parcells isn't trying to make a snap decision on Owens, either. The Cowboys will practice three more days this week before departing for Nashville, leaving him plenty of time to evaluate Owens' progress.

"I have to see him out there being a confident player," Parcells said. "I don't want him out there thinking about something. If it's going act as a deterrent, I don't want that because that would eventually hurt us.

"I'm talking to him every day, seeing how he's doing. We're moving forward. We have a lot of time between now and the game."

Signs are that Parcells will be staying

Originally posted by Americas Fan from a sports forum:

In his press conference today Parcells indicated that he sat down with Jeff Ireland yesterday and talked about the college players coming up (specifically about several undersized DE's coming up), and that he has these talks with Ireland throughout the year.

Many in the media speculate that this is Parcells' last year as Dallas' coach; but if it is, then why is he putting so much stock into next year's crop of players? The fact that he is doing this is indication that he's stayind past this season as our coach. This is finally becoming the team he has built - a relatively young team that is still maturing - and this is further reason that he may see this team through, past this season, to full maturity.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Last roundup for Cowboy?

from the Boston Globe:

Bill Parcells may be greasing the skids for a departure from Dallas because he's again complaining about his health, which he's done in the past when the end was in sight but the end of his contract was not. Following the Cowboys' 27-10 victory over the Redskins last Sunday, Parcells whispered into the microphone, ``I just want my team to play better. It's hard on me. It really is. I am feeling ill right now, literally. I just want us to play better." Later, the 65-year-old coach said he was suffering from stress, dehydration, and an electrolyte imbalance. Parcells claims his pregame attire and in-game superstitions were part of the problem. He put on a rain jacket before the game to deal with the wet weather but when the weather cleared, he never removed the jacket because the Cowboys were winning, leading to dehydration.

Vince Young Might Start Against Cowboys...

The Vince Young era in Tennessee might begin as soon as next week.

A Titans front office source told ESPN's Chris Mortensen that Young could make his debut as Tennessee's starting quarterback next week against the Cowboys if starter Kerry Collins can't get untracked Sunday against the Miami Dolphins.

Signed to a one-year contract as a free agent on Aug. 29, Collins was essentially force-fed the Tennessee offense, after the team soured on projected starter Billy Volek, and quickly rose to the top spot on the depth chart. But in two losses, Collins has struggled mightily, completing only 23 of 57 passes for 280 yards, with no touchdown passes, four interceptions and a 26.9 efficiency rating.

In Week 2's 40-7 loss at San Diego, the veteran quarterback completed just six of 19 attempts for 57 yards, with two interceptions. Tennessee's only touchdown came on an 18-yard touchdown pass from Young to wide receiver Drew Bennett in the fourth quarter.

Young has seen spot action in the Titans' first two games, completing 10 of 23 passes with one touchdown and one interception.

Volek was traded to the Chargers this week.

Information from senior writer Len Pasquarelli was used in this report.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Parcells has helped Cowboys lay solid foundation

AP Sports Writer

IRVING, Texas (AP) -When Bill Parcells agreed to coach the Dallas Cowboys, the franchise was a mess.

The roster was a collection of poor draft picks, bad free agent acquisitions and everything in between. The team had won only five games each of the last three seasons. And the coaching job made glorious by Tom Landry and Jimmy Johnson was no longer on the right people's wish list after being filled by a succession of guys viewed as puppets manipulated by owner Jerry Jones.

No wonder Parcells boldly vowed to leave the team better than he'd found it. How could he not?

Two games into his fourth season, the results seem mixed.

The Cowboys (1-1), who have a bye this weekend, are 26-25 overall under Parcells. It's an upgrade from before, just not the radical one Jones wanted when he agreed to scale back his control and let someone else tell him how to run his franchise.

Yet as much as the NFL is a ``results-oriented business,'' a favorite expression of Jones and Parcells, the overhaul that began with Parcells' hiring on Jan. 2, 2003, goes beyond the won-loss record.

Look deeper and you'll see why Parcells could walk away tomorrow - so to speak - and feel good about what he's accomplished in Dallas. While he hasn't returned the Cowboys to glory, he certainly has returned them to respectability.

Check out the collection of young talent, albeit mostly on defense, and notice how many are perfect fits for the way the club wants to play. Better yet, most of those key players are locked up for years, with the latest contract extension handed out just this week.

``We know we're the future of the franchise,'' said linebacker Bradie James, who received an $8 million signing bonus Tuesday. ``Some things lie upon our shoulders. We've accepted that and are looking forward to taking off.''

More help should be on the way, too, thanks to a well-managed salary cap that makes it easier for them to chase free agents, and a revamped scouting department that's found far more winners in the draft than the previous regime.

With so many pieces falling into place - including a new stadium approved by Arlington voters in November 2003, during Parcells' honeymoon phase with locals - the job of coaching the Cowboys can again be considered among the best in the business. So whenever Parcells walks away, Jones should be able to pick from a worthy crop of candidates.

Jones acknowledges the long-term outlook of his club is as good as it's been since winning the Super Bowl in 1995. Rather than delving into the details, he prefers focusing on winning the first playoff game since '96.

Do that, and he believes things could really take off.

``I think a lot of what we've got here needs a winning experience,'' Jones said. ``I think our winning in the early '90s helped make players strive. They tasted it and got better. I think we have a chance to do that right now. We've got some guys that can play and a lot of guys that have the potential to develop into players.''

For the most part, what you see now is likely what you'll see next year, too, albeit with question marks surrounding the club's top three on-field personalities: Parcells, Terrell Owens and Drew Bledsoe.

Technically, all three are under contract for 2007. However, Parcells' status is always season to season, Owens' volatility puts him in that same category, and Bledsoe's deal was signed with the intention of tearing it up after '06.

How he does the rest of the season will determine whether he's invited back. But with backup Tony Romo recently getting an extension, odds are the starting quarterback for '07 is already on the roster, one way or another.

Romo and James both re-signed rather than test free agency because they like it in Dallas and they like the direction the team is headed. Their signings followed the lead of Pro Bowlers Jason Witten and Roy Williams, who got new deals earlier this summer.

``It's just good to have a core group that knows we're going to be here for the next few years,'' Witten said. ``And it's a good group.''

Williams is among four pre-Parcells holdovers left on the roster. The others - Greg Ellis, Flozell Adams and Andre Gurode - all have received the Big Tuna's seal of approval in the form of contract extensions.

``It's looking like we have some of the quality players we ought to have,'' Jones said. ``You've got, on average, a third of your roster turning over every year. So what you're looking at is where are your core-base players that you can really count on?''

The irony of trying to have an organization that's built to last is that staying power is an antiquated concept in pro football. That old joke about the NFL standing for ``Not For Long'' because of how short-lived careers are? It's true for successful teams, too.

Consider this: Since Parcells arrived in Dallas, Seattle is the only NFC team to have made the playoffs every year. Denver, Indianapolis and New England have done it in the AFC.

Now stretch back one more season, to 2002, and only one club has made the playoffs every time, Indianapolis.

To Parcells, the whole concept of putting together a winning team comes down to a simple formula.

``If you get good players at the right positions, then I think you have a chance to do it pretty consistently,'' he said. ``If you don't, then you don't have much of a chance.''

Not long ago, the Cowboys didn't have much of a chance. They sure seem to now.

The next 14 weeks will show whether they make the most of it this season.

Cowboys bye week report card: Things looking up

By Andy Targovnik on September 22, 2006 12:02 AM

Although it's early in the season, the bye week is always a good time to evaluate how a team progressing.

The Dallas Cowboys suffered a brutal loss against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the season opener but bounced back against their division rival Washington Redskins in a game the Cowboys had to have. All in all, it looks like Dallas is starting to come together. So, without further ado, let's get to the grades:

Quarterback: Drew Bledsoe made some huge mistakes against the Jaguars. But as bad as Bledsoe played against Jacksonville, he was that good against the Redskins with no help from his receivers, who had a plethora of dropped balls. Grade: B -

Running backs: You really couldn't ask for more from Julius Jones and Marion Barber -- they are averaging 4.5 and 4.7 yards per carry, respectively. Each has hit pay dirt once. The only negative was a Jones lost fumble against the Redskins. Grade: A-

Wide receivers: Terry Glenn has been tremendous. Terrell Owens was outstanding in the Jacksonville game but faltered against Washington because he broke a bone in his hand. We should see more of Patrick Crayton and possibly Sam Hurd in Week 4 against the Tennessee Titans . Grade: B-

Tight ends: Jason Witten has been his usual consistent self with the exception of an uncharacteristic dropped pass against Washington. After being invisible against the Jags, Anthony Fasano made a nice contribution with three catches for 39 yards against the Redskins. Grade: C+

Offensive line: I have to admit, this new O-Line has played much better than expected, only giving up three sacks in two games to a pair of strong defenses. The unit has also created a lot of running room for Jones and Barber. The most encouraging sign is that Flozell Adams resembled his old self against Washington. Grade: B

Defensive line: Jason Ferguson has been effective at the nose with eight tackles in two games. Marcus Spears has also played well. Although Byron Leftwich had all day to throw, the D-line put some serious pressure on Mark Brunell, and has held both opposing rushing attacks to under 100 yards. Grade: B

Linebackers: The quartet of Greg Ellis, Bradie James, DeMarcus Ware and Akin Ayodele has played so well that not only has first-round pick Bobby Carpenter been relegated to the bench, but nobody seems to care. Grade: A-

Secondary: Considering the defensive backfield has rookie Pat Watkins starting at free safety, it could be much worse. They got lit up against Jacksonville's tall receivers, but played a great game against the Skins - especially Roy Williams and Terence Newman. Grade: B-

Special Teams
Kicking: Shaun Suisham has kicked off well but missed a chip shot field goal against Jacksonville. Mike Vanderjagt was finally allowed to kick against Washington and connected on a huge 49-yard field goal late in the game. Mat McBriar leads the NFL, averaging 50.8 yards per punt and ranks fourth with a 41-yard net average. Grade: B+

Kick coverage & return team: Dallas is floundering with a 20.8-yard average per kick return and 8.8 yards per punt return. The lowest point was when the kickoff coverage team gave up a 100-yard touchdown to the Redskins' Rock Cartwright. Grade: D

Overall, the Dallas Cowboys are headed in the right direction. With the distractions and growing pains of integrating new players into the mix in the rearview mirror, there's no reason they shouldn't win the NFC East. They have the talent; they have the coach. Now they just have to do it.

T.O. Will Play Vs. Eagles Despite Hand

The Associated Press
September 22, 2006

So it will just be a question of when he can catch. Soon as he can do that, we're good to go. Squeezing his broken right hand into a fist, Terrell Owens saw how far he could curl his fingers and smiled.

'When we get back next week,' he told teammate Sam Hurd, 'my goal is for it to touch.'

Owens is so pleased with how his hand is healing, he said Friday that he will 'definitely' play for the Dallas Cowboys in Philadelphia on Oct. 8, a game for him that's been marked on his calendar since the schedule was released.

'I'll be ready,' said Owens, his injured hand wrapped in gauze.

With the Cowboys having a bye this weekend, there remains a chance Owens won't miss any games. They play at Tennessee a week from Sunday, and coach Bill Parcells believes Owens could be back then.

'The swelling is down and he's running,' Parcells said, adding that Owens ran a lot Friday. 'So it will just be a question of when he can catch. Soon as he can do that, we're good to go.'

Owens lists himself as 'day to day.' Asked whether he expects to play against the Titans, he laughed and said, 'I can catch with one hand.'

Parcells said it 'would be a little ambitious' to expect Owens to practice Monday. He could still work out Wednesday or Thursday to be eligible to play against the Titans, according to Parcells' rules.

Owens broke the bone attached to his right ring finger early in a game against Washington on Sunday night. Although it started to swell and he dropped several passes because he was having trouble squeezing the ball, he waited until the Cowboys were comfortably ahead before telling trainers about the problem.

A plate held down by three screws was implanted Monday. On Friday, Owens patted his left hand into the palm of his right one and proudly said that was something he couldn't do without pain the day before, another sign of progress.

'It's getting better,' he said.

The Cowboys are off Saturday and Sunday, with many players headed out of town. Owens said he wasn't going anywhere, with Parcells adding that he expects T.O. to get some treatment. Owens took home a plastic bag filled with several rolls of tape and gauze.

Owens said he expects to wear protective padding on or under his glove once he returns. He's not sure whether he'll eventually have the plate removed. The plate used to help heal his broken ankle in 2005 was taken out because the screws were causing him pain.

Less is more for Vanderjagt

September 21, 2006 Weekly Picks

IRVING, Texas (AP) -- Scribbled on a strip of tape across the front of Mike Vanderjagt's locker is the phrase, "Less is more."

The full meaning comes when you see another strip of tape going down the left side of his locker. On that one, the new kicker for the Dallas Cowboys has written the distance of every field goal he's missed in the NFL. The list is broken down season by season, with a "B" marking the ones that were blocked.

Less is more, indeed.

"That's the motivation: Don't run out of tape," Vanderjagt said.

It's worth noting that Vanderjagt, a native of Oakville, Ont., only jots down his misses from games that count -- not pre-season and not practice.

So for coach Bill Parcells or anyone else who got worked up over how poorly he was kicking before going 2-for-2 in his Dallas debut Sunday night, the confident Canadian who is always willing to share his opinion has this message: "Back off a little."

Vanderjagt wants everyone to know he's not hurt. He hasn't lost confidence. He's not still dwelling on his awful miss that knocked Indianapolis out of the playoffs. And his US$2.5-million signing bonus hasn't made him lazy.

He's simply a slow starter who knows what he's doing, as reflected by his 87.6 per cent success rate, the best in NFL history.

"People just don't know me here," he said. "If I was a rookie coming in and people thought, 'Can he really do it?' that would be one thing. But I had a pretty good eight years in Indy. It should've been, 'You know what? He's good. Just let him go,' instead of, `Oh, my God, he sucks."'

The Cowboys signed Vanderjagt expecting to no longer have to worry about their kicking game. Field goals were a constant concern last season, with Parcells blaming three losses on the three kickers he went through.

Vanderjagt wanted to make a good impression early on and pulled a groin muscle. That led to some messed up mechanics, which in turn sidelined him for most of the pre-season. Finally given a chance to perform, he missed two short potential winning kicks in overtime of the pre-season finale and wound up being inactive for the opener.

Parcells seethed over having to keep a second kicker on the 53-man roster and remains perturbed that he had to use both Sunday night against Washington. The other one, Shaun Suisham of Wallaceburg, Ont., was used strictly on kickoffs, which meant one less roster spot for another position.

"That will hurt us eventually," Parcells said. "Something will happen where we will suffer from that. There isn't any doubt about it. It may not happen in the next 14 games. But, someday, you do it long enough it will happen."

Vanderjagt hasn't kicked off regularly for years. He believes the Cowboys are better off with Suisham doing it. Parcells even grudgingly acknowledges that Suisham could consistently pin foes 12 to 15 yards farther back than Vanderjagt.

"Shaun is a weapon," Vanderjagt said. "For me, he's somewhat of an attribute as opposed to a liability. But as everybody here knows, it's Bill's deal. If he doesn't want to go with three (kickers, including the punter), then there's not a lot anyone can do about it."

Such blunt talk is as much Vanderjagt's forte as field goals are. Another sample comes from his admission that he only halfheartedly kicks off during practice.

"I've said it a thousand times, I'm not going to go bang kickoffs as hard as I can in practice. There's just no need," Vanderjagt said. "If he's going to evaluate me in practice, he's not going to like what he sees."

Why not bang them in practice?

"It's just my mentality," he said. "I'm a Sunday guy, or whenever the game is. I just feel like I don't really care if I miss a field goal in practice. It doesn't seem to bother me. I just go out and kick just to satisfy what the practice is supposed to do. It's hard enough to get mentally ready on a Sunday, never mind Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday."

Parcells and Vanderjagt don't speak much. In fact, their only chat in recent weeks was an awkward one. Vanderjagt was soaking in the hot tub reading a golf magazine when Parcells plopped in. They talked golf, then went their separate ways until Parcells shouted some encouraging words following a 50-yard field goal that iced Dallas' 27-10 victory over the Redskins.

Vanderjagt said he expected playing for Parcells to be easier.

"I just thought, 'I'm pretty good at what I do; he'll leave me alone.' But apparently that's not the case," he said. "I figured him out a long time ago. It's his way or the highway, so that's how I'm going to look at it."

Vanderjagt knows he'll ultimately be judged by his kicks. Or, rather, his misses, the ones that get posted inside his locker. As of Wednesday afternoon, he hadn't even written '06.

"I feel like I'm in mid-season form," he said. "I don't anticipate missing soon."

Still, he knows it is likely to happen.

"I'm sure in the next 14 weeks I'm going to miss a kick I wish I'd made and people are going to say I suck again," he said. "But you take the good with the good and the bad with the bad. I'm just going to kick and hopefully they all go in."

Owens said Friday he'd "definitely" be ready for Dallas' Week 5 game against Philadelphia

Terrell Owens said Friday he'd "definitely" be ready for Dallas' Week 5 game against Philadelphia.

There's still a good chance that Owens will practice late next week and play in Week 4 against the Titans. At worst, he'll be back for Week 5.

QBs face prospect of being benched earlier than ever

Under pressure
QBs face prospect of being benched earlier than ever
Posted: Friday September 22, 2006 1:50PM; Updated: Friday September 22, 2006 3:04PM

The media and fans in Dallas are already calling for the Cowboys to bench quarterback Drew Bledsoe.

Bill Frakes/SI

A quick check of my scorecard at home reveals that the Redskins are sticking with Mark Brunell, the Bucs with Chris Simms, the Titans with Kerry Collins, the Broncos with Jake Plummer, the Packers with Brett Favre, the Dolphins with Daunte Culpepper, and the Raiders with Aaron Brooks (once he's healthy again). Oh, and let's not forget that way back last week Bill Parcells felt compelled to unequivocally state that he's sticking with Drew Bledsoe. For now, at least. Until he decides exactly when to get Tony Romo into the action.

Are you thinking what I'm thinking? Things are getting pretty sticky in the NFL these days when it comes to the quarterback position.

Two weeks into the regular season and already seven teams have had to listen to the most oft-played tune in the NFL: Are you going to make a quarterback change? That only stands to reason, I suppose, since the predominant story line of the offseason was the many quarterback questions that dotted the league's landscape.

We had rehabbing quarterbacks (Culpepper, Carson Palmer, Drew Brees, Chad Pennington, Donovan McNabb and Ben Roethlisberger, twice). Thrown-into-the-deep-end quarterbacks (Philip Rivers, J.P. Losman, Charlie Frye, Billy Volek and Rex Grossman). Relocated quarterbacks (Brooks and Jon Kitna). Renaissance quarterbacks (Steve McNair and Brad Johnson). Rookie quarterbacks (Vince Young, Matt Leinart and Jay Cutler). And at least one rather well-known close-to-retiring quarterback (Favre).

All of it made for a great cauldron of debate, which has spilled over into September. The end result is you get a rash of coaches feeling the early need to publicly stand by their man, with everything but strains of Tammy Wynette playing in the background.

"It's ridiculous, really,'' said former Cincinnati star quarterback Boomer Esiason, now an NFL analyst with CBS. "When you've got a quarterback controversy going on, it's definitely crisis mode central in those cities."

Nothing in the NFL drives the conversational engine like a quarterback controversy. But has the chatter level about the quarterback position ever been higher? It probably hasn't helped that there are QB questions to bandy about in such traditional NFL hotbeds such as Washington, Dallas, Green Bay, Denver and Miami. Discussion about Favre's status alone -- Will he or won't he retire? Should he still be starting? -- threatens to consume nearly 50 percent of the oxygen in Wisconsin and only slightly less than that in the other 47 contiguous states.

"What it points out is that right now, those guys in those markets aren't perceived as the guy,'' said Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman, who played in Dallas, where some still debate the Roger Staubach-Craig Morton competition. "Ben Roethlisberger struggled Monday night, but I don't think Bill Cowher has to come out and say, 'Hey, Ben's my guy.' They won a Super Bowl with him last year. When Peyton Manning has a poor game, if he ever has a poor game, Tony Dungy won't have to come out and say 'We're sticking with him.'

"I think Bledsoe had a good season last year," added Aikman. "But there's a love affair right now with Romo. Everybody from the first game on was clamoring for Tony Romo. He played well in the preseason, but Bledsoe still outplayed him. I've said several times, 'What actually has Tony Romo done for everybody to say he should be the guy?' But in Dallas, when the team struggles, they look at the quarterback and want change for the sake of change.''

Perhaps the biggest surprise so far? There haven't been any quarterback changes for the sake of change, just plenty of speculation, conjecture and debate. Three teams already have used two quarterbacks for significant amounts of time, but in each case it was due to injury: Pittsburgh, with Charlie Batch and Roethlisberger; Kansas City with Trent Green and Damon Huard; and Oakland with Brooks and Andrew Walter. A fourth team, Tennessee, has alternated starter Collins and backup Young during games, and this week traded the quarterback (Volek) who was expected to be the Titans' No. 1.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Roger Staubach Selected for 2006 Patriot's Award

Roger Staubach Selected for 2006 Patriot's Award by Congressional Medal of Honor Society; Dallas Presentation Ceremony Announced

DALLAS, Sept. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- The Congressional Medal of Honor
Society announced today in Dallas that Roger Staubach has been selected the

2006 recipient of the prestigious Patriot's Award for his continuous
support of the community and commitment to America and its veterans. The
Award will be presented at a special dinner in Dallas on October 19, at
which 25 of the 111 living Medal of Honor recipients will attend to
recognize Mr. Staubach.

The Patriot's Award is the highest honor bestowed by the Congressional
Medal of Honor Society to individuals whose life's work is dedicated to
freedom and perpetuating the Society's ideals, including American courage,
sacrifice, and patriotism. Among previous recipients are Bob Hope, John
Rangos Sr., Lee Iacocca, Dr. Robert Haley, Ross Perot, former Presidents
Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, and General Norman Schwarzkopf.

"Because this is one of the highest tributes paid to great Americans by
the Congressional Medal of Honor Society each year, we are especially
honored to bestow the 2006 Award on Roger Staubach," said Mike Thornton,
Regional Director of the Society. "Not only has Roger demonstrated
greatness in what he has achieved in his military service and pro football
and business careers, he has consistently made time for unselfish community
and civic service and patriotism in support of our troops and veterans
spanning the past 30 years."

After graduating from the United States Naval Academy, Roger Staubach
fulfilled four years active duty and embarked on an outstanding
pro-football career with the Dallas Cowboys, culminated by his selection
into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1985. Today he is Chairman of the
Board and CEO of the Staubach Company, headquartered in Dallas, and
continues to be involved with the United States Naval Academy Foundation.

The 2006 National Patriots Award Dinner will be held at III Forks in
Dallas, Thursday, October 19, 2006, 6:00 - 9:30 p.m.

About the Congressional Medal of Honor Society
The Society's membership is composed exclusively of living Medal of
Honor recipients, currently numbering 111. There can be no associate or
honorary members. Notably, the Society holds a unique view of its
membership, in that it hopes never to need to induct new members. The
Congressional Medal of Honor Society is a not-for-profit, tax-exempt
organization chartered by the 85th Congress under a legislative act signed
into law by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on August 14, 1958. The oldest
living member is 98 years old and the youngest is 56 years old. Of the 850
medals awarded since WWI, the majority have been awarded only posthumously.

Society members are dedicated to the protection and preservation of the
dignity, honor and name of the Medal of Honor; service to others; service
to nation, and the promotion of allegiance to the Constitution and
Government of the United States. Members act to foster patriotism and to
inspire and encourage the youth of America to become worthy citizens. For
more information visit

Parcells wants Barber more involved

Cowboys | Parcells wants Barber more involved
Thu, 21 Sep 2006 07:34:33 -0700

Todd Archer, of the Dallas Morning News, reports Dallas Cowboys head coach Bill Parcells would like to get backup RB Marion Barber III eight or nine carries a game relieving starting RB Julius Jones this season.

Crayton expected to relieve Glenn, play nickel spot

Cowboys | Crayton expected to relieve Glenn, play nickel spot
Thu, 21 Sep 2006 07:22:32 -0700

Rob Phillips, of, reports Dallas Cowboys head coach Bill Parcells stated that he wants WR Patrick Crayton to serve as the nickel receiver and someone who could relieve WR Terry Glenn on occasion. "I know that I'm not going to be able to play Terry 100 percent of the plays, and I know where I want Crayton in the nickel and where I want him to help with Terry," Parcells explained. "So I'm not going to screw up two positions (by having Crayton start in Owens' place) by not having him available to do that."

Rector could possibly fill in for Owens

Cowboys | Rector could possibly fill in for Owens
Thu, 21 Sep 2006 07:12:29 -0700

Rob Phillips, of, reports Dallas Cowboys WR Jamaica Rector could potentially fill in for injured WR Terrell Owens (finger) if he is inactive for the club's next game.

Davis dinged in Week 2, continued to play

Cowboys | Davis dinged in Week 2, continued to play
Thu, 21 Sep 2006 07:23:25 -0700

Mickey Spagnola, of, reports Dallas Cowboys S Keith Davis (shoulder) suffered a slight dislocation of his right shoulder during Week 2, but he refused to exit the game and said the shoulder had slid back into place. Davis is still experiencing soreness, but the club has a bye in Week 3, allowing more time for the injury to heal before the next game.

Davis dinged in Week 2, continued to play

Cowboys | Davis dinged in Week 2, continued to play
Thu, 21 Sep 2006 07:23:25 -0700

Mickey Spagnola, of, reports Dallas Cowboys S Keith Davis (shoulder) suffered a slight dislocation of his right shoulder during Week 2, but he refused to exit the game and said the shoulder had slid back into place. Davis is still experiencing soreness, but the club has a bye in Week 3, allowing more time for the injury to heal before the next game.

Getting the Hurd mentality in Dallas

By Os Davis on September 21, 2006 02:29 AM

Finally, the reign of Terrell Owens, an era filled with controversy and wacky antics, is over in Dallas Cowboys land and sanity will be restored with the insertion of Sam Hurd into the starting lineup.

Two weeks ago, when final 53-man rosters were announced, head coach Bill Parcells found himself doing something he'd never done as an NFL coach: keeping six wide receivers. Hurd was the sixth and now that T.O. is out, the undrafted free agent has been penciled into the top spot at split end. Earlier this week, the Tuna figured he'd be giving Hurd the work rather than shifting Terry Glenn because the coach is "not going to screw up two positions."

But who in Sam Hill is Sam Hurd?

After reportedly being courted by the Jacksonville Jaguars as early as the fifth round in the 2006 draft, the former Northern Illinois Huskie made it through seven rounds without being chosen, and opted to try out with Dallas immediately afterward.

At Northern Illinois, Hurd ran up 2,322 total receiving yards in four years, peaking with 1,074 and 13 touchdowns in his senior year of 2005. His performance got him a nod on the All-Mid American Conference team and got an All-America honorable mention.

Hurd became something of the feel-good story of Cowboy camp, quietly working hard and, most impressively, adapting to any situation the Dallas brain trust pigeonholed him into. When finally named to the squad just two weeks ago, Parcells mentioned that "He came in here and learned three different positions without a problem."

So Hurd was good enough to convince the Tuna to keep a half-dozen WRs. No matter: He was still listed as inactive for Week 2. Depending on the time required for T.O. to recover, Parcells has no choice but to assume Hurd's playing when the Lone Stars take the field next.

Owens has been noted as a quick healer and, thanks to the miraculous healing powers of his oxygen chamber - a $10,000 high-tech device (or "bag" as Tony Kornheiser would have it) exposed by the hard-hitting investigative team at ESPN's "Monday Night Football" - may well return in time for the Cowboys matchup against the Tennessee Titans .

However, going out on a limb here, a piece of advice for the Tuna (surely he must be reading RealFootball365 daily): Let Hurd play against Tennessee. It's a win without Owens, anyway, and Glenn (Everybody remember him?) is on pace for 1,000 yards this season. Besides, Coach, isn't it about time to end all the controversy and egotism surrounding this team since the arrival of "the player"?

Let the S.H. Era begin!

Aikman Efficiency Ratings: Week 2

By Troy Aikman
Special to

NOTE: In 2004, Pro Football Hall of Famer Troy Aikman devised a formula for measuring the efficiency of NFL offensive and defensive units. While the league ranks these units based on total yards per game, Aikman wanted to create a more comprehensive ranking similar to the QB passer rating. Each week during the season, Aikman will post his updated ratings on (See below for an overview of the factors that contribute to the Aikman Efficiency Rating.)

(Sept. 19, 2006) -- Here are the Aikman Efficiency Ratings after Week 2:

Aikman Offensive Efficiency Ratings
Aikman NFL Team AER
1 2 Colts 100.7
2 4 Chargers 100.3
3 3 Giants 90.5
4 1 Eagles 87.7
5 9 Bengals 86.3
6 16 Cardinals 83.0
7 12 Patriots 82.1
8 7 Bears 81.3
9 10 Saints 76.8
10 13 Vikings 76.7
11 5 Falcons 76.3
12 23 Texans 75.6
13 8 Jets 75.1
14 24 Ravens 74.7
15 11 Cowboys 74.1
16 6 49ers 73.0
17 14 Jaguars 71.9
18 17 Seahawks 71.3
19 31 Bills 68.5
20 21 Dolphins 67.3
21 18 Rams 66.6
22 29 Browns 66.2
23 15 Packers 64.6
24 25 Redskins 63.8
25 19 Broncos 63.0
26 30 Panthers 62.1
27 27 Steelers 61.7
28 22 Titans 61.5
29 20 Chiefs 58.6
30 26 Lions 54.2
31 28 Buccaneers 36.1
32 32 Raiders 27.1
NFL Average 72.1

Aikman Defensive Efficiency Ratings
Aikman NFL Team AER
1 1 Ravens 128.2
2 3 Jaguars 105.4
3 10T Falcons 105.2
4 2 Chargers 104.5
5 5 Bears 101.1
6 4 Seahawks 91.9
7 15 Broncos 91.5
8 17 Rams 87.0
9 19 Steelers 83.9
10 20 Eagles 82.9
11 14 Bengals 82.2
12 9 Chiefs 81.8
13 8 Cowboys 81.6
14 13 Patriots 80.3
15 12 Saints 79.7
16 16 Bills 79.4
17 7 Vikings 79.4
18 27 Packers 79.1
19 22 Buccaneers 75.6
20 6 Dolphins 75.3
21 24 Jets 72.2
22 28 Panthers 71.7
23 26 Cardinals 71.7
24 10T Raiders 70.3
25 21 Lions 68.8
26 30 Browns 64.5
27 18 49ers 64.5
28 29 Giants 62.7
29 23 Redskins 62.0
30 31 Titans 57.7
31 25 Colts 54.4
32 32 Texans 47.2
NFL Average 77.9

Aikman Efficiency Ratings Formula
The Aikman Efficiency Ratings measure offensive and defensive performance using a combination of seven key statistics identified by Troy, and then measured against league norms (and extremes) established over the last 10 years. An offense or defense performing exactly at league norms in all categories will achieve a score of 75. The better the offense or defense, the higher the score on either scale.

It will take a truly exceptional unit to score more than 90 during an entire season on either the offensive or defensive scale. Higher scores are possible in individual games.

In 2005, AER scores ranged on offense from 92.6 (Seattle) to 60.9 (San Francisco) and on defense from 89.3 (Chicago) to 61.1 (Houston). The seven categories measured are:

Adjusted Points (20%) -- Total Points Scored or Allowed minus Points on Returns and Safeties
Turnovers (20%)
Red Zone Efficiency (20%) -- Measured by Percent of Possible Points (see below)
Yards Per Play -- divided into Yards Per Rush (10% of total) and Yards Per Pass Play (10% of total). Yards Per Pass Play includes yards on plays involving sacks.
First Down Achievement -- divided into Total First Downs (10% of total) and 3rd Down Conversion Percentage (10% of total)
Percentage of Possible Points in the Red Zone is figured by taking the number of Red Zone Chances times 7, then dividing it by the number of Points Actually Scored (defined as TDs times 7 plus FGs times 3).


QUOTE TO NOTE: "I would prefer we would be playing. But I told the players today, I don't want to beat them up this bye week. It wouldn't make sense to do that. By the same token, I don't want to lose. We're just starting to get started on where you want to go so I don't wanna lose that either so it's a fine line and I told them we would do specialty things this week and when they come back Monday they better be ready to go back to work because that's what were going to do." — Cowboys coach Bill Parcells on the early bye week.

Where Have All the Good Fullbacks Gone?

Full Out: Where Have All the Good Fullbacks Gone? Some in the NFL Long for the Good Ol' Days When the Fullback Carried the Load.
Publication Source Fort Worth Star-Telegram (Fort Worth, Texas)
Publication Date 2006-09-21

By Charean Williams, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Texas
Sep. 21--As a former fullback who played for a team with a rich history of fullbacks, ex-Cowboy Walt Garrison is pained by what is happening at the position these days.

"I wouldn't have a job if I played today," said a chuckling Garrison, who played for the Cowboys from 1966 to '74.

The Jim Taylors, the Marion Motleys, the Bronko Nagurskis, the Rocky Bleiers, the Tom Rathmans and the Daryl Johnstons have disappeared the way of the leather helmet. Fullbacks are a dying breed.

Sixteen teams -- exactly half of the NFL -- have started a game this season with either two tight ends or three receivers, leaving the fullback on the sideline looking on. Only 34 fullbacks, including those on practice squads, are listed on the rosters of the 32 teams on

"It's like the Pleistocene era," Cowboys coach Bill Parcells said. "They had all these different types of large animals roaming the earth, but the majority, I know, are extinct. That's what is happening to the fullbacks."

Gil Brandt, the former Cowboys player personnel director and an NFL historian, said eight teams used two-tight-end sets at least 45 percent of the time last season, and he expects that number to rise this season. The Cowboys and the San Francisco 49ers are among the teams who are playing more two-tight-end sets this season.

"Everybody is using the tight end as a weapon now," Brandt said.

Fullbacks, though, used to be the weapon of choice.

Packers fullback Jim Taylor is in the Hall of Fame, as is his backfield mate, halfback Paul Hornung. In the eight seasons they shared the backfield in Green Bay, Taylor led the team in rushing six times and outgained Hornung by 3,797 yards.

The Hall of Fame counts eight fullbacks among its 235 members, including Jim Brown, whom, some argue, was more of a halfback. But John Riggins, who retired after the 1985 season, is the most recent fullback inductee into Canton.

No one has had better fullbacks than the Cowboys, who count Don Perkins, Garrison, Robert Newhouse, Ron Springs, Timmy Newsome, and Johnston as alumni. Some, such as Perkins, primarily were runners; some, such as Springs, made their names as receivers; others, such as Johnston, were almost strictly blockers. The NFL even added a Pro Bowl spot for the fullback during the 1993 season to honor Johnston.

But Lousaka Polite, who is less known than kicker Mike Vanderjagt or offensive guard Marco Rivera, is carrying the torch for the Cowboys this season.

"In older times, the fullback was more of an integral part of the offense, but the league has changed," said Polite, who in three seasons has two rushing attempts and 10 receptions. "It's a new era."

In the golden era of the fullback, players such as Clarke Hinkle and Nagurski also played linebacker. Today, would-be fullbacks are choosing to play linebacker. It is a recent trend, begun when high schools and colleges turned to passing offenses devoid of a fullback.

In the past seven NFL Drafts, only 35 fullbacks were selected, including four each of the past three years. William Floyd was the last fullback selected in the first round, going 28th overall to the 49ers in 1994.

"There aren't a lot of college teams out there that play the traditional fullback position, and a lot of those athletes are going to defense as linebackers," Cleveland Browns general manager Phil Savage said. "There just aren't a lot of guys to choose from to begin with, and then as the game has gotten more spread out, the need for the fullback position is a luxury."

Teams that do use a traditional fullback, such as Green Bay, San Diego, Minnesota, Seattle and Detroit, pay for it. The Seahawks re-signed Mack Strong to a three-year, $3.16 million deal in the off-season, and the Vikings gave free agent Tony Richardson, a two-time Pro Bowl player for the Chiefs, a two-year, $2.5 million deal.

"Lorenzo Neal will forever go down in the books as one of the best ever," Tennessee Titans coach Jeff Fisher said of his team's fullback in 1999-2000. "If you get one of those, you've got to keep him."

Neal, who moved to the Bengals in 2001 and is now with the Chargers, and Strong are in their 14th seasons. Cory Schlesinger (Lions) and Richardson are in their 12th seasons. Last season, Strong was voted the fullback on the NFC Pro Bowl team, while Neal represented the AFC.

For nine consecutive seasons, Neal has had a 1,000-yard back behind him, including LaDainian Tomlinson, Warrick Dunn, Eddie George and Corey Dillon. But Neal has only 175 career carries for 616 yards.

"I do eat meat, so of course I do feel like a dinosaur," Neal said. "But it doesn't matter. There is always going to be a need.

"It goes in phases. One year, it was the run-and-shoot. They say, 'Oh, Indianapolis has got the spread offense, and that's what it's going to be.' Teams try it, and they can't do it like Indy, so they go back to something else. The NFL is very cyclical."

Favorite fullbacks

Gil Brandt, the former Cowboys player personnel director who now works for, was asked to list his favorite fullbacks in NFL history. Here are six he selected:

Larry Csonka

Dolphins, Giants, '68-79

The Hall of Famer rushed for 8,081 yards and had 820 receiving yards.

Clarke Hinkle

Packers, '32-41

The Hall of Famer played fullback, linebacker, halfback and defensive back.

John Henry Johnson

49ers, Lions, Steelers, Oilers, '54-66

The Hall of Famer had 6,803 rushing yards and 1,478 receiving.

Marion Motley

Browns, '46-49

The Hall of Famer arguably was the best pass-protection blocking fullback in history.

Bronko Nagurski

Bears, '30-43

The Hall of Famer was a bruising player known for his blocking.

Don Perkins

Cowboys, '61-68

He joined the team's Ring of Honor after becoming the first Cowboy to rush for 6,000 yards.

In the know


Four players listed as fullbacks were selected in the NFL Draft in April, marking the third consecutive draft only four fullbacks were picked. How they have done this season:

Player College NFL team Draft pick GARRETT MILLS Tulsa Patriots 4th round, 106th overall A tight end in college, New England has him at H-back, but he has been inactive the first two games. DAVID KIRTMAN USC Seahawks 5th round, 163rd overall He is on the Seahawks' practice squad, learning from Mack Strong. LAWRENCE VICKERS Colorado Browns 6th round, 180th overall He has played in both games this season, with two carries for no yards. J.D. RUNNELS Oklahoma Bears 6th round, 195th overall He made his NFL debut Sunday against Detroit.

Bradie James discusses new deal

by Tom Orsborn
San Antonio Express-News

IRVING - Cowboys linebacker Bradie James said he can rest easy and concentrate on just playing the game after receiving a five-year, $20 million contract extension Tuesday.

"I really wanted to get this deal done," James said. "It's hard enough playing in this league, but when you throw in all these X-factors going on, it can really get you down. But now, it's all behind me. I can just go out and make plays and not worry about anything else."

James, 25, was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent after the season.

"I didn't really want to hit the open market," he said. "I feel like I'm now establishing myself as a player in this league. Dallas is my home. I've got family here in Dallas and family in Louisiana. I really wanted to stay here so my
family could see me play."

The LSU alumn received an $8 million signing bonus. He led the Cowboys in tackles last season with 109.

Parcells: T.O. Might Not Miss Any Games

The Associated Press

September 20, 2006

Maybe five days from now I might, but I wouldn't rule it out now. ... I know we're looking to try to get him moving around pretty good in the next day or so. So we'll see where we are. Thanks to the timing of the bye week, Terrell Owens might not miss any games because of his broken hand.

Owens broke the bone leading to his right ring finger Sunday night and had a plate surgically attached to it Monday. Although Owens' hand was swollen and aching Wednesday, Dallas Cowboys coach Bill Parcells said he's optimistic the receiver will be back at work next week and catching passes a week from Sunday against Tennessee.

'I certainly wouldn't rule it out now,' Parcells said. 'Maybe five days from now I might, but I wouldn't rule it out now. ... I know we're looking to try to get him moving around pretty good in the next day or so. So we'll see where we are.'

Owens did not speak with reporters Wednesday, but said Sunday he'd be out two to four weeks. A return against the Titans would be 13 days after the surgery.

Emmitt Smith had the same procedure done to the same bone on the same hand in 1999. He played 12 days later, missing one game because the Cowboys' bye didn't happen to fall in between. Of course, Smith had it easier because he carried the ball instead of having to catch it, and he favored his left hand anyway.

Another potential factor could be how much the Cowboys (1-1) feel they need Owens to beat the Titans (0-2). Having Owens would certainly help, but not if it might compromise his chances of playing the following weeks.

While T.O. certainly doesn't want to miss the game after that _ Oct. 8, in Philadelphia, against his previous employers _ the Cowboys also want him for a five-game run starting Oct. 23 that includes a home game against the New York Giants, road games at Carolina, Washington and Arizona, then home against Indianapolis.

Tight end Jason Witten said he'd be surprised if Owens misses the chance to play against the Eagles.

'I think that he's going to be back sooner rather than later,' Witten said.

Parcells seems to think the only holdup with Owens will be pain management. Although anti-pain medicine made Owens ill Wednesday, the receiver showed his toughness by playing in the February 2005 Super Bowl seven weeks after ankle surgery.

'Once you put the plate in there's no risk of it being displaced again,' Parcells said. 'So now it's a question of when you can withstand that trauma or pain of catching the ball. Once he can do that, he'll be good to go. So we'll just see how quickly that comes along.'

Parcells seems to be leaning toward undrafted rookie Sam Hurd taking Owens' place, if T.O. can't go. Parcells would prefer to plug one person into Owens' split end job rather than move Terry Glenn or Patrick Crayton, then have to use someone else in their place.

'I'm not going to screw up two positions,' Parcells said.

Hurd played against Washington, but didn't have any passes thrown his way. He won a roster spot with a strong preseason aided by his post-practice workouts with Owens.

'I don't really think the game is too big for him,' Parcells said. 'Just because he's replacing a more proven player that doesn't make his job any different. That's what he's here for. We kept him on the roster with the hope that he would be able to fill in. He hasn't disappointed us.'