Teammates Nothing But Supportive

Members of the Dallas Cowboys admitted Wednesday that they didn't know the specifics of what happened last night when wide receiver Terrell Owens was reported to have consumed as many as 35 pain pills in a possible suicide attempt. But they also said they are not worried that Owens is despondent enough to take his own life, and were not worried about a potential repeat of the events.

Owens said in his press conference that he made himself groggy by taking his pain medication "with some supplements," and that there was no suicide attempt, adding that he is not depressed.

"I'm happy to be here," he said. "My thing is, I'm trying to help this team make the playoffs, to get on a roll, on a streak, and win some ballgames."

Less than 25 percent of the roster appeared in the locker room during the daily session during which media has access to the players.

"This is something he just has to deal with, like catching a stomach virus -- you just go on," defensive end/linebacker Greg Ellis said. "This is a deal where T.O. had an allergic reaction to some pain medication. I've had an allergic reaction to medication. It happens."

Ellis was quick to point out that since his arrival in Dallas, Owens never has shown any indication of a dependence on pain medication.

"I don't think T.O. has a problem with substance abuse," Ellis said. "But I also understand that he's a big-time player. When he gets sick, it's news. What's disturbing is that people are going to read into it and draw their own conclusions."

Jumping to conclusions before all relevant facts are made public can skew perception, often leading to inaccurate impressions.

"I had my (contract) deal in the offseason, and people concluded I'm a bad guy," Ellis said with a laugh. "Can you imagine that?"

Tight end said he was confident that Owens is fine, and said that whether he plays or not Sunday against the Tennessee Titans will not affect the team's preparation in the slightest.

"We've been preparing without him going into this game, anyway," Witten said. "So as a player, it won't make a difference. Of course we hope we have him, because he's such a great player, but we'll get ready as if he's not going to be there."

Quarterback Drew Bledsoe echoed Witten's comments that the team was preparing for Tennessee as if Owens won't be able to participate.

"We had a good practice, and we looked sharp," Bledsoe said. "We're preparing to go win this game. I don't know what's going to happen, but I was happy to see him here, happy to see him out there, running around.

"When I heard the reports, my first reaction was to be very skeptical."

Defensive end Marcus Spears said that part of his reaction is tempered because there's really no way to know someone's mental state.

"In any situation, you don't know what anybody is going through when they walk out these doors," Spears said. "That's one reason we don't need the speculation."

Spears said that while he didn't know the specifics of what might have prompted a potential suicide attempt, Owens' behavior since the incident didn't seem like that of someone who might have tried to end his life.

"I would think if a guy was going to try to commit suicide, he wouldn't be at work the next day," Spears said. "He's out there running routes right now.

"He came in this morning and said 'I know everyone's heard the story. It's a bunch of BS, and I'm going to go out and do my job.' If someone really tried to kill himself, I'd think the last thing he'd worry about was getting back to the facility."

Linebacker Bradie James, who has established himself as one of the team's leaders on the field and in the locker room, said many players' response to the situation was to tease the team's mercurial wideout.

"That's what we do, as teammates," James said. "If you're not dying, we're going to have fun with you."

James said a few teammates talked individually with Owens, but said most just welcomed him to the locker room as a family, albeit a family that had concern for one of its own.

"Any time you hear about suicide, you have to be serious," James said. "When someone said it was Terrell, it was like ? come on. He embraces himself too much."

James said the possibility of a reaction to painkillers is something every player has to consider.

"You can get hooked on painkillers," James said. "He's a supplement guy. He takes a lot of pride in taking care of his body. Yeah, it was a relief when he came in today, but we had some comedic relief with him -- that's what we do as teammates.

"We're happy he didn't stay in that (hyperbaric) chamber too long, or he might not be here."

Spears said it's always a bit of a scare when a teammate has any medical issue, but insisted he's not worried about Owens taking his own life.

"As his teammate, our concern is his health," Spears said, but added, "it's not a big deal, unless it really happens."

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