Everything is cool with T.O.

Terrell Owens was wearing an ear-to-ear grin Friday afternoon as the 49ers began their three-day minicamp. And why not? Life is good for the All-Pro receiver, who now has an open line of communication with his head coach and plans to begin his professional basketball career next week. "At this moment, I'm content, I'm happy," Owens said. "I'm here at minicamp and I'm just trying to…

 "… get better, just trying to get the new guys ready to play, and I'm looking forward to bigger and better things this season."

 Owens already has had a bigger and better offseason. In fact, he has had a pretty interesting and eventful April, a month that has seen him mend fences with head coach Steve Mariucci, and also decide to play this spring with the Adirondack Wildcats of the United States Basketball League.

 Mariucci flew to Owens' hometown of Atlanta earlier this month for a three-hour meeting with Owens and his agent, David Joseph, to resolve some of the issues surrounding their well-publicized feud last season. Owens, who wasn't shy about voicing his displeasure with Mariucci last season, came away from the meeting satisfied he'd made progress in the relationship with his coach.

 "I think that was a great start for both of us," Owens said. "I welcomed him to come to Atlanta. It was all very positive. I think both of us agreed there probably was a lack of communication on both of our parts. We talked about that in our meeting, and hopefully we're going to get that squared away. Everything is cool and that's the way we plan for it to be the rest of the season."

 When asked how he and Mariucci are getting along now, Owens said, "I mean, we're fine. I think he's the greatest guy in the world right now." That comment was met with considerable laughter from reporters, considering the rancor Owens had for his coach last season.

 While everybody in the organization was pleased to see Owens and Mariucci working out their differences, the same can't be said of Owens' decision to play pro basketball in May and June.

 "At this point, I feel like I can't limit myself as to what I can do," Owens said. "I've spread my feelings toward that with Mariucci. I don't think (Niners general manager Terry) Donahue's taking it too well. But the thing is, I can go out and get hurt in a pickup game, which I've been doing since high school, and there's no difference. I can go out here and get hit by a car, or anything, so anything that I do outside of football is at risk."

 Owens, who likens his hoops game to that of NBA star Scottie Pippen, doesn't expect to have any problem handling two sports. And the USBL might just be his audition for a higher level of basketball, Owens said.

 "I've been (playing basketball) since Year One in the (NFL)," Owens said. "I play basketball all the time. I'm the type of person that I've always loved basketball. If it leads to something, then obviously I'm going to take that opportunity and run with it."


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