IRVING, Texas (AP) – Dallas police have classified Terrell Owens’ case as an “accidental overdose,” not an attempted suicide, closing their investigation Thursday of the Cowboys receiver’s hospitalization.

Authorities also released a recording of the brief 911 call Thursday that brought rescue workers to Owens’ home, in which publicist Kim Etheredge said “I think he took too many pills” but never mentioned her client’s name or said anything about a suicide attempt.

Police Chief David Kunkle said he had “great confidence” in his officers’ initial report, which said rescue workers responded late Tuesday night to an attempted “suicide by prescription pain medication.”

“The report, in my opinion, reflects what the officers were told and represents their best interpretation of what happened,” Kunkle said Thursday. “But that doesn’t mean it’s the definitive account of the incident. Like all these situations, we’re dealing with incomplete information and facts that change.”

The report, obtained by media outlets Wednesday, said Etheredge described Owens as being depressed and indicated that he said “Yes” when rescue workers asked whether he had tried to harm himself.

Owens said Wednesday he mistakenly mixed the painkillers for a broken hand with supplements he ordinarily takes, causing him to become groggy and incoherent. Etheredge became concerned and called 911.

The 41-second call began politely, with Etheredge saying in an urgent tone, “Hi, I have an emergency please.”

Far from the anger and outrage she showed at a news conference Wednesday, Etheredge was a bit panicked but composed enough to say “thank you” before being transferred to a paramedic. She then told the second operator, “Hi. I need an ambulance please, immediately.”

“I think he took too many pills,” she said. “Please. Now. What do I do if the pills are down the throat?”

The paramedic instead said they were on the way and asked if he was still breathing. Told that he was, the paramedic reassured Etheredge that rescue workers were en route.

“Thank you,” she said. “Thank you.”

Within two hours of his hospital release Wednesday morning, Owens was catching passes at team headquarters. He went through a full practice Thursday, his first since breaking his right hand on Sept. 17, and might play Sunday in Tennessee.

At a news conference Wednesday, Owens denied the strongest parts of the police report, and Etheredge lashed out at authorities, saying, “I am just upset that I just feel they take advantage of Terrell. Had this been someone else, this may not have happened.”

Earlier Thursday, the president of the Dallas Police Association, which represents Dallas police officers, demanded an apology from T.O. and his publicist.

“The officers reacted because they were called to this location to do this job. Now they’re being put under a microscope by some fancy little football person,” Senior Cpl. Glenn White said. “Give me a break. Those officers are 10 times better than this man. … We police officers don’t go out to these calls and make stuff up.”

Reports of an empty pill bottle is a good example of the difference between what officers were told and the story that emerged later. The report indicated that 35 pills were unaccounted for; Owens later said that Etheredge reported seeing an empty bottle, but didn’t know the medicine was in a drawer.

“There was initially a belief of more (pills) that he might have taken,” Kunkle said. “Further investigation leads you to a different conclusion.”

Etheredge could not immediately be reached Thursday. The voice mail on her cell phone was full, and she did not respond to an e-mail from The Associated Press.

Although Owens looked fine in practice, Cowboys coach Bill Parcells said he might not decide until Saturday morning whether Owens makes the trip to Tennessee, and he’ll probably wait until that night to determine whether to use him in the game.

Parcells wants to evaluate all the medical information he can get. That includes details about Owens’ broken hand and possibly a mental evaluation. Owens is expected to practice again Friday.

“I have to, as the coach, rely on other people to keep me informed as to really what’s going on,” Parcells said. “I can’t form my own independent opinion other than those involving, “Is his hand functional and can he play on Sunday?’ If my medical people tell me those things are in place, and then he looks like he’s (OK), we’ll make that consideration then.”

He pointed to the fact that Owens was released from the hospital after being checked out there. “If they deemed it appropriate to release him, there must be a reason why they did that,” he said.

Owens wore receiving gloves Thursday with bandages under the right one to protect the hand bone he broke in a game a week ago Sunday. A metal plate was screwed into the bone the following day.

“He was running fine,” backup quarterback Tony Romo said. “I thought he caught the ball pretty good. I expect him to be ready to go this weekend.”

Said fellow receiver Sam Hurd: “I asked him how he felt and he said, “I feel good to go. All good.’ He didn’t say nothing about his hand hurting.”

Owens declined to speak with reporters, saying he did his talking Wednesday. But he sure was visible while media was allowed in the locker room.

Wearing a small bandage over the scar on his right hand, and a black T-shirt that read “U Big Dummy” above a picture of TV character Fred Sanford, Owens walked into the locker room, sat on a sofa and unwrapped his lunch, then decided to take it into an adjacent, off-limits dining area.

When he returned, Owens shooed away reporters, then Owens went back to the same spot on the sofa where he’d been before. He grabbed a copy of the Cowboys Weekly newspaper to occupy his time.

Among the articles that caught his attention: “Young Receivers Have Opportunity To Step Up After Broken Finger Sidelines Owens,” and a scouting report of the Eagles, next week’s foe.

AP-ES-09-28-06 1955EDT


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