T.O. believes dramatic departure from Dallas 'wasn't my fault'

CANTON, Ohio -- Terrell Owens believes he still should be playing for the Dallas Cowboys.

Instead, Owens played against them Sunday night as a member of the Cincinnati Bengals in the Hall of Fame game that opened the NFL preseason.

"You have to take the bitter with the sweet, and you move on," Owens said. "Do I think I should probably be there? Yeah.

"It was short-lived. I was prematurely let go. Things like that happen."

Owens spent three years in Dallas, one of five stops during his career that is about to enter a 15th season. He caught 235 passes for 3,587 yards and 38 touchdowns as a Cowboy.

Even though he received a four-year contract extension before the 2008 season, Owens was released by the Cowboys at the end of the season amid headlines that he feuded with quarterback Tony Romo and offensive coordinator Jason Garrett.

"There's no turning back or going back or redoing anything," Owens said. "Again, I still stand by the things that I said and what was done. I know that honestly it wasn't my fault."

Owens played for the Buffalo Bills in 2009 and signed with the Bengals when training camp started this year. He remains confident he still is a playmaker and will show that while combining with good friend Chad Ochocinco and another Bengals newcomer, Antonio Bryant.

"I feel confident about myself and what I can still do on the football field even at the age of 36," Owens said. "With me in here, obviously there are expectations of getting the ball downfield. With myself, Chad and Antonio, we bring a vertical presence to the offense. With us being three different types of receivers, that brings three different dynamics to this offense."

Before Sunday night's game, Owens spent time catching passes from Carson Palmer and other Bengals. Owens spent even more time chatting on the field with members of the Cowboys, often laughing and joking around.

"I still have some great friends there," he said. "I think everybody is aware of what happened down there. I think a lot of people know that there were some unfortunate things that happened there."

Still, Owens has departed on unfavorable terms from previous stops in San Francisco and Philadelphia, where he had issues with quarterbacks Jeff Garcia and Donovan McNabb. Owens had little impact in Buffalo last year, but his career statistics could be Hall of Fame worthy.

Indeed, Owens said during training camp that the only thing missing for him in Canton is a Hall of Fame bust.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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