Cowboys' Owens shares opinions on this season and last

IRVING, Texas -- Terrell Owens was in midseason form Wednesday, sounding off on any and every topic thrown his way.

Prediction for himself: "I am expecting an explosive year."

Prediction for the Dallas Cowboys: "I feel very confident in going on record now saying we are going to make the playoffs. We are going to win some playoff games."

His review of last season: "I really felt like I let this team down."

His relationship with Donovan McNabb: "I did what I had to do when I saw Donovan. I apologized."

How about things with a more recent sparring partner, Bill Parcells: "Anything regarding Bill Parcells is not a non-issue, it's a dead issue. D-e-a-d, dead."

Owens even delved into the taboo topic of dogfighting, saying he attended one "when I was younger."

"Being from the South, that's something that's very prevalent in that area," he said.

Later, he compared dogfighting to hunting deer: "They cut their heads off and they go to mount them on the wall. And they are animals as well. I don't see a big difference in the situation."

T.O. Unplugged lasted 30 minutes.

Owens has been in a great mood for months, and with good reason: Parcells quit in January, a much friendlier coach was hired in Wade Phillips in February, and the Cowboys picked up a $3 million bonus in June to go with his $5 million salary.

Better yet, the new coach believes in spotlighting star offensive players, the offensive coordinator plans to make it happen by moving Owens around, and he has terrific rapport with quarterback Tony Romo.

"Any time you can go into a season without any legitimate distractions ... yeah, you're going to go out there and play free, you're just going to have an overall better feeling about yourself," he said.

When talk turned to distractions, Owens noted that no problems he's caused have involved illegal activity.

"That is a credit to the way my family raised me," he said. "I know right from wrong just as well as other guys. I just tend not to put myself in situations where things may come up. Considering some of things that have been going on since I have been in the league, especially this past year, I am a saint. I think you guys don't give me enough credit."

While that might sound angry, his tone wasn't. He even ended with a line that made him laugh.

"You have the power of the pen," he said. "So maybe you guys need to go to the store, get you some new pens and write it up."

Owens was waiting at his locker when reporters were allowed in. He opened by saying that after announcing "get your popcorn ready" when he joined the Cowboys last year, his plan this year is to "butter the popcorn."

He said things went "stale" last year partly because of injuries. There was a hamstring problem in training camp, a broken hand in the third game that led to surgery, and the prescription of pills that were part of an accidental overdose, followed by a finger injury that required offseason surgery.

Yet for all of Owens' problems last season, he still caught 85 passes for 1,180 yards and a league-best 13 touchdowns. So if things are only going to get better this year, his numbers really could be something.

"If there is a dream season, this is the year to have it," he said. "It couldn't be any better."

Here's more from Owens on, well, all kinds of stuff:

» On patching things up with McNabb the week of the Super Bowl:

"Donovan is a good guy. I missed him. I missed the times that we had. He is a good friend. There were some things that happened. I do regret some of the things that happened. If I could go back and change some things then I would. ... He was very receptive (to the apology), and we have moved on from that."

» On whether he intentionally stayed out of the headlines lately:

"I haven't made a point to be more quiet. I'm more focused because of some of the things that happened last year. I didn't want to be a distraction then and I don't want to be a distraction now."

» On being considered an elite receiver, despite not making the Pro Bowl last year:

"I know my statistics should have put me there. For whatever reason, I didn't make it. ... I get the respect once I get on the football field. When I step on that field, I know that by the way defenses play me."

» On Phillips and boosted expectations:

"We are on the same page as far as how to play the game. I am going to try to do my best to win this guy a Super Bowl. ... This year is going to be a big year for this offense. I expect the same thing for myself."

» More on dogfighting:

"When I say it's a cultural situation, I'm not trying to bring a racial barrier into it. If anyone wants to dig that up, I will dispel that. I don't condone Michael Vick's actions with the dogfighting. I've been exposed to it and it's something that's very unfortunate for Mike. I think he'll learn from this situation and move on from it."

Owens wrapped things up by noting the Bible verse he's worn on a plastic band around his right wrist for about a year is the same one he recently received on a plaque from a home for troubled youths that's affiliated with the team.

Then he pulled out the plaque and read the verse, Joshua 1:9.

"Be strong and be of good courage and do not be afraid nor dismayed."

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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