Thursday, October 02, 2008
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Uh-oh time for TO, Romo? Cowboys say it ain't so

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[October 02, 2008]  IRVING, Texas (AP) -- Folks in San Francisco and Philadelphia must be loving this: Even though the Dallas Cowboys tried getting the ball to Terrell Owens on one-third of the plays last Sunday, he still wasn't satisfied.

Is this the beginning of the end of his blissful relationship with Tony Romo? Are the Cowboys about to be divided, quarterback supporters on this side, receiver supporters on the other?

InsuranceOr was T.O. just blowing off steam after a loss to the Washington Redskins?

Back at team headquarters Wednesday, Owens and Romo insisted a lot is being made of nothing.

"I know in my heart, this team, we're still together," Owens said. "Dude, I promise you, we're fine in this locker room."

Owens is well aware that any slightly provocative comment he makes will become big news. So he should've expected a backlash for saying he didn't get the ball enough after catching seven passes, taking two handoffs and having 11 more balls thrown his way in a 26-24 loss to the Washington Redskins. All told, T.O. was the focus on 20 of 58 plays.

"Dude, it was frustration," he said. "Dude, we lost. It was a game we should have won."

He also blamed the media for "making their stake at a claim to divide this team -- and it's not going to happen."

"It's funny how the week before you guys praised me for giving extra effort," Owens said, referring to positive coverage he received for making a tackle on an interception and a downfield block on a touchdown run during a victory at Green Bay, a game in which he caught only two passes.


"Then I come out this week and say I need to be more involved and I'm vilified. ... I feel like everything is being nitpicked."

Romo gave his usual lines about Owens wanting the ball as much as anyone else but because T.O. is T.O. his requests get more attention, and that he likes teammates who want to be involved.

"It's easy to work with a guy who goes hard and comes here and wants to win," Romo said. "The rest of the stuff? It's stuff. You're going to go through ups and downs. The season is not going to be without bumps in roads, bumps and bruises along the way. We're going to have good moments and bad moments. If you can't keep an even keel, that's when you get in trouble. But this team is fine. There's enough leadership and people on this team that we're going to be fine."

Owens said he didn't need to talk to Romo or offensive coordinator Jason Garrett to straighten things out. And if he did talk to them, "you guys won't know about it."

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"We've just got to right the ship. That's all," Owens said. "I just think we need to play better as an offense."

Owens' problem with what happened Sunday was quality more than quantity.

"Put on the screen all 18 passes that were thrown my way and you make the assessment of all those passes," Owens said. "We just didn't execute. For whatever the case may be, we just didn't play well."

Part of the problem appeared to be how much Romo was trying to get Owens involved. For instance, running back Marion Barber got only eight carries. Just three were in the second half -- and two of those came on the opening drive.

Romo denied he was trying to appease his star receiver.

"I don't think you consciously think about anything other than trying to win football games," Romo said. "He does the same thing. He believes that getting the ball helps us win. ... The reason you try and throw him the ball a lot is because he's good. He gets open. If he wasn't as good you wouldn't throw it to him as much."

Cowboys coach Wade Phillips laughed off the notion of Owens raising a ruckus, dirctly or indirectly.

"He wants to win. That's what I like about him," Phillips said. "It's all part of it. You've got to learn to handle that."

[Associated Press; By JAIME ARON]

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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