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Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Updated: October 12, 9:40 AM ET
Why is he here? Frustrated T.O. wants to know

Associated Press

IRVING, Texas -- Terrell Owens screamed it on the sideline against Philadelphia, in the locker room after a loss and repeated it again Wednesday: "Why am I here?"

Wide Receiver
Dallas Cowboys

Profile
2006 SEASON STATISTICS
Rec Yds TD Avg Long YAC
17 232 1 13.6 46 89

The volatile receiver admits he's frustrated with his role on the Dallas Cowboys, but not simply because he's off to his worst start in years. According to T.O., he'd be fine if Dallas was winning and he had mediocre statistics.

It's the Cowboys being 2-2 combined with the reduced numbers that he can't tolerate.

"I do have a problem when I don't feel like I'm involved enough," he said. "I know I can make a difference. That's not me being arrogant. I just know what I bring to the table. Otherwise, I wouldn't be here. ... I want to win. I came here to help this team win."

Owens spoke the entire 45 minutes the locker room was open to reporters, passionately describing his feelings on many subjects. He even revealed that the ongoing issues he's faced the last few months, from a hamstring injury in training camp to an accidental overdose, have driven him to "sit in my house in the dark" instead of having much of a social life.

He never directly criticized quarterback Drew Bledsoe or coach Bill Parcells, the playbook or the play-calling.

In fact, T.O. had few specific complaints -- just the general one about not getting the ball enough.

"I haven't really gotten started yet," he said.

Owens has 17 catches for 232 yards and one touchdown. It's his fewest catches after four games since 1999 and his fewest yards at this point since 2002. His three-game streak without reaching the end zone is his longest drought since 2000.

In a loss Sunday against the Eagles, his former team, Owens caught only three passes for 45 yards. However, there were 13 passes thrown his way -- five more than to any other Dallas receiver, Parcells noted Wednesday. Owens dropped one and two were intercepted, including one that likely would've been a touchdown.

The guys in the booth are saying, 'There he goes again, he's up to his old stuff again.' It's very unfair. ... It makes me hesitant to try to do what I need to do.
Terrell Owens

"The opportunities are there," he said. "We're just not connecting."

Owens knew when he signed with Dallas in March he was joining an offense that wasn't designed to showcase a specific receiver. However, he acknowledged for the first time Wednesday he expected that to change for him -- like it did in Philadelphia.

"Dude, I am playmaker," he said. "These guys know that. It's simple. ... Get the ball in the playmaker's hands."

Owens was mostly supportive of Bledsoe, especially compared to how he's talked about his previous quarterbacks. He even added he is working on his route-running "to give the quarterback better looks, things of that nature."

"I think we all need to play better," Owens said. "That was one of the things he came up to me and said. Even after the game, he sent me a text that said, 'Stay with me,' he'll play better for me. You can only respect that. He's trying his best to get the ball to me in certain situations. It's hard when he has a lot of pressure on him."

Bledsoe reiterated Wednesday that T.O. is a quality receiver who wants the ball and the quarterback is happy to try getting it to him.

"I've never had a receiver, at least not one who is worth anything, that was happy with the number of times they touch the ball," Bledsoe said. "I told him when he got here, 'Listen, I don't expect you to be happy all the time. If you don't get to touch the ball enough, I don't expect you to like that. At the same time, you have to keep playing hard for me and give me good information when you come back.' And he's been very good about that."

Owens thinks he's been good about it, too, adding he's not trying "to come in and stir things up ... to create more controversy and distraction around here."

"I wouldn't say I'm unhappy," said Owens, who is making $10 million this season as part of a $25 million, three-year deal. "I'm not happy about the losing. I just feel like there's really an opportunity for something really special to happen here in Dallas with the team that we have. Once we get the nucleus of guys in the right positions to play and play as a unit, then we're going to be OK."

Clayton on T.O.
Watching Terrell Owens act like a spoiled baby in times when he didn't get the ball Sunday against the Eagles was so typical of him. To yell "Why am I here?" to a Cowboys coach was inexcusable. More ...

But is T.O. going to be OK?

"I don't go nowhere," he said. "I don't do nothing. It's frustrating. It's frustrating just to go (through) what I have been going through since training camp. I've had the hamstring. Then I break my hand. Then I go to the hospital. Then personal stuff.

"My way of venting is going out there on Sunday, trying to win ballgames. Now it's added frustration, especially when I know we have a good team. And the team we lost to, they know they should have lost. We made too many mistakes to win. We are stopping ourselves."

Owens watched the game film of the Eagles game with teammates Monday ("It was sickening," he said), then saw a replay of the Fox broadcast Tuesday night on the NFL Network.

He was still peeved Wednesday about some of the things discussed about him, especially the repeated shots of him barking at his teammates.

"The guys in the booth are saying, 'There he goes again, he's up to his old stuff again,"' he said. "It's very unfair. ... It makes me hesitant to try to do what I need to do."

Besides, if he wanted to really do something shocking and get across his message, he could always borrow from the repertoire of his Dallas predecessor, Keyshawn Johnson.

"I need to get a shirt -- 'Give me the damn ball!"' Owens said, smiling wide and laughing. "I am just kidding. I am just kidding."