IRVING, Texas (AP) – Terrell Owens sat at his locker Friday flexing his swollen right hand, smiling and saying little.

After practicing for the second straight day, the Dallas Cowboys receiver seemed in good spirits and on track to play Sunday. But Owens, who will travel to Tennessee, refused to say then if he would play against the Titans and reminded the media surrounding him that he talks on Wednesdays.

But Friday evening Owens said on his radio show that he told coach Bill Parcells that he will be ready to play.

“If he gives me the nod that I can play, then you best believe I will be ready, no matter what,” Owens said. “They can slap the hand; they can do whatever they want to the hand. I will be ready.”

Parcells said Owens has done everything he’s been asked to do in practice this week.

Still, Parcells hadn’t decided if the receiver would play against the Titans.

Owens had only a small bandage over the scar on his hand from surgery Sept. 18, a day after he broke a bone near his ring finger in his home debut for the Cowboys.

When asked about the swelling, Owens said, “It’s gone down a lot.” Other than that, he let teammates speak for him in the locker room.

“You can go on and migrate around,” Terence Newman told reporters, standing in front of Owens and pointing to other lockers. “Thank you for coming out.”

Parcells said he hadn’t sat down with Owens yet, but the coach said he “would have time to do that.”

During his radio show that airs on the ESPN affiliate in Dallas and another station in Miami, Owens said he wasn’t bothered that there hadn’t been any extended dialogue with his coach this week and understood that Parcells was focused on preparing for the game.

Now, Owens could play at the end of a week in which he was hospitalized for mixing painkillers prescribed for his hand injury with his usual supplements, then had to deny a police report that he had attempted suicide. On Thursday, Dallas police closed their investigation, calling it an “accidental overdose.”

“If I was suicidal, I mean, of all that I’ve gone through, I probably would have already committed suicide if that was the case,” Owens said on the radio, referring to Philadelphia dumping him midway through last season only months after he helped them nearly win the Super Bowl. “If I didn’t commit suicide then, why would I do it now?”

Owens said the medication he took Tuesday night was a generic form of Vicodin, the same pain medication that made him sick the previous week after his surgery. He said he took those pills again only because he couldn’t find a milder medication that had been given to him by a team trainer.

Within hours after leaving the hospital Wednesday, Owens was on the field catching passes from Drew Bledsoe and Tony Romo. He returned to practice with the full team Thursday.

The finger didn’t appear to bother Owens during the 15 minutes of practice open to the media Friday. Wearing receiving gloves with padding protecting the injury, he caught balls with his hands in front of his body, and readjusted on one pass over his shoulder to make a fingertip catch in the back of the end zone during a drill.

Generally, players who practice Thursday and Friday for Parcells are available for games.

So, why wouldn’t Owens play Sunday?

“Just if I thought there was an inordinate number of mental errors or something that didn’t look like he was up to speed for the game,” Parcells said.

The coach wouldn’t say if Owens had had any such problems.

“I’m not commenting on that, what I think about that,” Parcells said. “You’re going to have to wait.”

Parcells said he wasn’t qualified to offer a public opinion on the off-the-field drama surrounding Owens and stopped short of calling it a distraction.

“We’re a little early in the season to be passing judgment on what’s going to happen,” Parcells said. “I think we need to let these guys go forward and settle down to a little more normal pace. Hopefully we’ll get good production out of everybody and go forward from there. That’s what I’m hoping we do.”

AP-ES-09-29-06 2023EDT

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