T.O. OK with QB and O.C.

For his sideline tantrum directed at offensive coordinator Greg Knapp and his verbal swipe intended for quarterback Jeff Garcia last week in Minnesota, Terrell Owens got off with just a wrist slap and warning from coach Dennis Erickson. Knapp went even easier on the Niners' star receiver Wednesday, and Garcia said he'll have no problem continuing to work with his volatile top target - even if they're not talking to one another.

After a fourth-and-1 running play was stuffed for a one-yard loss in the third quarter of a humiliating 35-7 loss to the Vikings last week, television cameras captured Owens berating Knapp on the sidelines.

On Monday, Erickson talked with Owens and the coach later said that kind of behavior no longer will be tolerated. On Wednesday, Knapp said all was good with him and his top offensive weapon.

"T.O. apologized to me and said it won't happen again," Knapp said. "And I'm fine with that. So it's not an issue to me anymore. It's focus on beating Detroit."

Knapp said he felt the incident, during which the offensive coordinator glared at Owens from the bench during the receiver's tirade, was blown out of proportion.

"That's going to happen," Knapp said. "That's part of the heat of the battle. That's part of T.O.'s makeup. The thing that gets him going is emotion. That makes him play hard. And that makes him play well. This is not the first time I've been yelled at on the sidelines by an individual, including some quarterbacks and receivers that have played here. That's part of being a coach on the sidelines during a game."

Garcia remained a little frostier with Owens after the receiver criticized his performance against Minnesota, when Garcia had a quarterback rating of 21.9 in one of his poorest performances as the Niners' starter.

Owens also declined to give Garcia a vote of confidence over backup Tim Rattay, who led the Niners to their lone touchdown. In saying Rattay did a good job when he played, Owens also said, "It's not my position to say we need a quarterback change," when he was asked if he felt the Niners should make a change at the position.

Though Garcia said he has not talked with Owens since the incident, he said it has not - and will not - affect their working relationship.

"I think we understand each other," Garcia said. "I don't think that there's any sense of not being on the same page. I am completely confident in the sense that we've worked long enough together to know each other's personalities on the field. And I know that he's going to do everything he can to make things work for himself and I'm going to do everything I can to get him opportunities to make plays."

But Owens didn't apologize to Garcia like he did to Knapp. And Garcia said he won't be seeking any explanations for the receiver's antagonizing behavior.

"I don't really see there being a reason or a requirement to do that," Garcia said. "I think we can just work through this and continue to push and get better and that's something that I'm looking at personally, as far as how can I be better on the field for this team and give everyone an opportunity to make plays."


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