Parcells Knows How to Weather T.O. Storm

This wasn't supposed to happen until the second year of the Terrell Owens experiment. Right? Wrong. Like it or not, believe it or not, Terrell Owens has already become a distraction for the Dallas Cowboys and head coach Bill Parcells.

And if you didn't understand that fact before, you should now. Especially after Parcells addressed the subject for the 57th time this week during his daily press conference in Oxnard.

"I'm trying to integrate this player into the system," he said. "Right now we can't proceed the way we'd like to proceed.

"In the meantime, I'm getting the sense that most of the media is waiting for something to be controversial in that regard. I'm here to tell you that's not going to happen from me. So don't use a word that has an ambiguous meaning like, 'cloudy' and expect me to respond to it because I won't. Okay?"

Understood coach. But what does it mean for the rest of your team?

Surely, this T.O. mini-drama has to be affecting the other 80 players in some sort of manner.

Isn't Drew Bledsoe wondering when he'll be able to start to establish an on-the-field relationship with Owens?

What about Jason Witten or Julius Jones?

Aren't they scratching their heads when Terrell Owens, not Bill Parcells and not the Cowboys public relations staff announces to the world that he won't be playing in Saturday's preseason opener at Seattle due to hamstring "soreness?"

Simply put, what we've seen out of Terrell Owens thus far in training camp is bad for the Dallas Cowboys.

It's bad that he's missed so many practices because it hinders the development of the offense. It's bad that Owens is taking it upon himself to announce when he's ready or not ready to practice or play in preseason games. And it's bad that Owens still doesn't appear to be part of the team.

In fact, it almost appears like this is the beginning of the same stunts he pulled in Philadelphia and San Francisco, only this time it's come much sooner than anyone ever anticipated.

Despite all of this however, Bill Parcells is doing the best he can with the hand he's been dealt.

He's downplaying everything regarding this situation. He's not caving into media pressure. He's not issuing statements about what Terrell Owens should or should not do in regards to his hamstring soreness.

In fact, he may be the first coach that knows how to weather the T.O. storm.

"I want to see him out here," he said. "We want to get him acclimated into the offense. That's important to us. But we can't do that right now."

Indeed.

Not once has Parcells challenged Owens and his perceived injury. Not once has Parcells made a negative comment about the situation.

Yes, Owens is doing his thing, and as it turns out, he may be doing it much sooner than most expected. At the same time, he just might have met the coach that knows how to handle him.

Yes, it's still early and yes it's still training camp, but give Parcells credit.

He's seen a lot during his 27 years of coaching in the National Football League, and apparently he's seen enough to know how to handle one of the more explosive players in league history.

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