Saturday, January 6, 2007 Updated: January 7, 6:47 PM ET
Fates of Parcells, Owens up in the air
By John Clayton ESPN.com
SEATTLE -- Cowboys owner Jerry Jones didn't call Saturday night's 21-20 loss to the Seahawks the worst he has experienced since buying the franchise. He has lost NFC title games to the 49ers that ate at him more.
But the strange loss put the Cowboys in an unusual position. Cowboys coach Bill Parcells hasn't won a playoff game in four seasons in Dallas and his future is uncertain. Terrell Owens, signed out of desperation to put the Cowboys over the top, caught only two passes for 26 yards and no TDs in a playoff game against a Seahawks team that started a rookie cornerback and three safeties.
Jones said after the loss he wanted Parcells and Owens back, but both are question marks for the 2007 season.
Parcells said he doubts he will meet with Jones this week about his future. In fact, he said he's not sure when he will meet with Jones.
"I haven't thought about it right now,'' Parcells said. "I'm going to think about it and we'll see.''
Asked how he rated his job of coaching, Parcells was quick to dismiss the evaluation process. The loss hit him as hard as it did his players.
"Fellows, I'm not going to do a state of the union after one of these games,'' Parcells said. "I did the best I could. But it wasn't good enough.''
Owens' only hint of selfishness came toward the end of his news conference when he wondered why the Cowboys didn't test a Seahawks secondary that was down three cornerbacks. Quarterback Tony Romo completed only 17 passes for 189 yards, so a lot of people besides T.O. wondered about that.
"Everyone knows they had some corners that hadn't been playing and were playing some guys who came off the street," Owens said. "For whatever reason, we didn't take advantage of those opportunities."
Terry Glenn and Owens combined for six catches for 64 yards. Owens dropped one ball and had another knocked from his hands. Overall, Owens and Glenn were nonfactors. Still, Owens believes he will be back in a Cowboys uniform next year.
"Definitely. I see no reason not to," he said about coming back for the second year of his three-year, $25 million contract. "I'm going to work my butt of this offseason and have my hand squared away."
Owens will need surgery on one of the fingers of his left hand, but he believes he has suffered permanent damage. He said he didn't use the injury as an excuse for having 18 drops in 18 games. It was Jones, not Owens, who earlier in the season disclosed the injury.
"I never one time did say my hand was the problem," Owens said. "No one would have known it until the owner said it. I knew all along my hand was messed up. But I was not one to make an excuse."
Owens is expected to be back with a permanently damaged hand. As for Parcells, he has two years left on his contract, but that might not mean anything. He could retire, although Jones wants him to return.
How did Parcells sum up this season?
"I think we were a little inconsistent from time to time," he said. "I know we had a better team competitively than what we had in the past. I know that."
John Clayton is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.