Saturday, September 16, 2006
T.O. eager to make Texas Stadium debut, face Redskins
IRVING, Texas -- Terrell Owens has had six months to come up
with a memorable way to celebrate his first touchdown at Texas
Stadium as a member of the Dallas Cowboys.
Of course, it's got to involve the midfield star logo he stomped
on six years ago.
Pulling a marker out of his sock and signing the logo would be
quite a spectacle. As would borrowing pompoms from one of the
famous Cowboys cheerleaders and shimmying on the 50-yard line. Or
he could just plow down and do some midfield sit-ups.
But Owens prefers to be an innovator, not a copycat, even if
those would merely be digging into his own repertoire.
So, T.O., what's it going to be?
"I don't really know what I am going to do," he said. "I'm
just going to go out there and try to wing it, try to have fun with
Owens will get his chance Sunday night against the Washington
Redskins, providing he reaches the end zone.
The game itself should be a good one. The Cowboys and Redskins
are division rivals that came into this season with playoff hopes,
but made too many mistakes and lost their openers. The loser will
be 0-2, adding urgency to this battle of wits between coaching
greats Bill Parcells and Joe Gibbs, and providing taunt-worthy
material for team owners Jerry Jones and Daniel Snyder.
Yet those aren't the reasons NBC got this game for its second
It's all about the guy wearing No. 81 on his shirt and a star on
his helmet -- and what he might do after a touchdown.
Owens is well aware a national television audience will be
watching. And he knows they'll be waiting for something outlandish,
ideally one that invokes his look-at-me antics on the logo in 2000,
the move that launched him from quality receiver to A-list
"I'm going to have to figure it out. I just haven't figured it
out yet," he insisted this week. "I've about run out of touchdown
dances and celebrations, as far as something creative."
The broadcast is sure to include a rundown of T.O.'s TD stunts,
including his autograph session for beaten cornerback Shawn
Springs, then of Seattle but now playing for Washington.
Springs is recovering from surgery and not expected to play. But
he knows what to expect should Owens score.
"He's going to act the fool, just like he will always do,"
Springs said. "That's Sunday night and it's prime time, so he's
going to show up because that's what keeps you on SportsCenter.
He's going to do something big, so your goal is to go out there and
try to shut out him and (Terry) Glenn.
"But the thing I keep telling everybody -- I don't want y'all to
be surprised -- T.O. is a great player, but the difference is that
now you can't double-team Terry Glenn, and he's been lighting us up
the last two years."
Without Springs, the Redskins gave up 223 yards passing in a
19-16 loss to Minnesota last Sunday. Cornerback Carlos Rogers gave
up a 20-yard touchdown and Mike Rumph gave up a 46-yard completion.
"You've got to give them different looks, mix up the
coverage," said Rogers, a first-round pick last year who is likely
to draw Owens most of the time. "T.O., he likes to be physical. I
was telling some of the guys, we've got to get back in the weight
room this week, because with him, we've got to be physical the
In Dallas' opener, Glenn caught four passes for 81 yards and
Owens had a team-best six catches for 80 yards, including a
twirling grab for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter. He didn't
celebrate because the Cowboys were on their way to a 24-17 loss to
While Owens denies choreographing anything for this game, he
acknowledges he wants to do something special.
"You better believe it," he said. "I'm going to try to bring
some excitement to Texas Stadium."
Actually, the sizzle factor might start with Cowboys quarterback
Drew Bledsoe, who is on the hot seat -- at least with fans, if not
coach Bill Parcells -- after throwing three interceptions last
With folks eager to see what backup Tony Romo can do, Bledsoe
isn't being given much slack. His cause is hurt by the fact he
threw six interceptions over the final three games last year; the
Redskins picked him off three times in a 35-7 drubbing. And with a
bye looming the following week, Bledsoe needs to do all he can to
keep his grip on the job.
"I've always taken pride in being able to bounce back and keep
going forward regardless of what's happened," Bledsoe said.
"That's what I'm doing now."
Washington swept Dallas last season for the first time since
1995. The Redskins will be trying to beat the Cowboys three
straight for the first time since a run of four in a row from
1986-88, back in the final days of Tom Landry coaching the Cowboys.
One more thing to remember about Owens is the league's new rules
against touchdown celebrations. Anything officials deem excessive
will draw a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that certainly
wouldn't go over well with Parcells.
"Right now, we're just really trying to concentrate on trying
to get a win," Owens said. "I think the things I do on the field
will kind of take care of itself."