Parcells happy to have Owens aboard


IRVING, Texas (AP) – Bill Parcells says he’s happy to have Terrell Owens on the Dallas Cowboys.

It just took him 48 days to say so. “I say, “I support it,’ and that’s the way we go,” Parcells said Friday. “It’s in my best interest that he’s successful. And it’s in his best interest that he’s successful. …

“I’m not approaching this with the idea it’s going to be adversarial or I’m going to be mandating every little thing this player does.”

Parcells loves keeping a low profile in the offseason, but he took it to an extreme this year considering the high-profile move of signing Owens, the receiver whose spectacular plays tend to be overshadowed by personality conflicts.

When Parcells didn’t talk last weekend after the first day of the draft – something he did the previous three years – speculation increased that he didn’t agree with the move.

Finally, on Friday afternoon, following the start of a rookie minicamp, Parcells walked into his normal news conference setting and was greeted by almost as many cameras as the day he was hired. He sat down, smiled and said, “Well, let me see what you want to talk about here.”

His response to the first question wasn’t exactly seven weeks in the making.

“He’s a good, productive player, has been for a long time,” Parcells said. “I’ve seen quite a bit of him. I think he can help us.”

First, Owens will have to adjust to a new offense, one in which “he’s not going to catch 100 balls.”

“He’s been in the league for quite a while so I don’t worry about him making that adjustment,” Parcells said. “But it is going to be different.”

Parcells spoke for 50 minutes, the first 26 strictly about Owens. He answered every question – calmly, too.

Two things he was adamant about: He’s not cutting Owens any slack by letting him do most of his offseason conditioning work away from team headquarters; and the decision to sign Owens and all other personnel moves are made by the trio of himself, team owner Jerry Jones and scouting director Jeff Ireland.

Parcells said agent Drew Rosenhaus warned the team all along that Owens had some other matters to deal with this spring. Parcells said he wanted them all taken care of now so they won’t be in the way later. He said Owens will be in town before a June 2-4 minicamp.

“He’s done exactly what I wanted,” Parcells said. “I’m not giving him special leeway.”

Parcells frequently brought up the front-office triumvirate with Jones and Ireland. He also mentioned several times that picking players “is about a 50-50 proposition anyway.”

“We work as a team here, we really do,” Parcells said. “Hey, now, I’m not going to say we don’t have a difference of opinion on some things. Once we go, we’re going. If we’re wrong, we’ll cut our losses and keep going.”

Parcells avoided talking about incidents that ruined Owens’ tenures in San Francisco and Philadelphia – except to say, “My best guess is it really is a little exaggerated” – Parcells instead spoke of glowing reports about Owens’ work ethic and conditioning.

He especially likes that Owens “responds to competition.”

“If the answer to that question was no, then I probably would’ve had a problem with bringing him here,” Parcells said. “Everyone I consulted on that – which was people who know, not guess, know – were very positive in that regard.”

One of the people Parcells called was David Culley, who played quarterback for Parcells at Vanderbilt in the mid-1970s and spent the last two seasons as Owens’ position coach with the Eagles.

One of the people he didn’t ask many questions of was Philadelphia coach Andy Reid. They chatted at the scouting combine in Indianapolis, but Parcells said it was mostly about which one of them could lose more weight this offseason.

“If the subject (of Owens) came up, it was very lighthearted,” Parcells said.

Once questions about Owens slowed, Parcells talked about his reasons for signing a contract extension through 2007.

“I like it and I’m challenged by it,” he said, also throwing in that he did it “knowing full well that when you get to be my age (64), things can happen.”

Parcells is 25-24 over three seasons in Dallas, counting a loss in his only playoff game. They missed the playoffs the last two seasons.

“It hasn’t gone exactly the way I wanted it to go,” he said. “I think we were a lot closer to being pretty good last year than anybody really knows.”

AP-ES-05-05-06 2057EDT