Who's Hot? Who's Not? JuJo & Spears

IRVING, Tex. – It's being written up as a "surprise.'' And as a "guess who?'' Well, if it's a "surprise'' and a "guess who,'' you shouldn't be surprised that I'm guessing. … Terrell Owens.

T.O. performed in both the morning and afternoon workouts at Valley Ranch on the Cowboys' first day of a three-day minicamp – and performed well, according to coach Wade Phillips.

"Terrell is going to practice and catch the ball,'' Phillips said during his midday press conference. "And he's going to catch the ball very well, as matter of fact.''

So what was the big deal?

Both newspapers, having sat down with Phillips on the eve of camp, asked the new coach if Owens would be participating despite rehabbing his finger following surgery. As near as TheRanchReport.com can tell, Wade essentially told them, "I don't know.''

Yet somehow, by the time the story hit the two newspapers, the headlines ran something along the lines of, "Owens WON'T Participate.''

And "No Passes For T.O. At Minicamp.'' Even though, again, Phillips never quite said that.

So then, when Owens does run around in gym shorts, it's a surprise?

The mainstream media kind of made this into two headline-grabbing tales when there was actually nothing but a non-story in the first place. It is, after all, May. And only "The Underwear Olympics. Of course, T.O. feeds lots of this himself. (A Cowboys official was only half-joking when he told me Saturday that he thinks Terrell "wakes up on Monday mornings wondering how he can get talked about on SportsCenter this week.'') And so do we. (I believe even TheRanchReport.com has an "Owens Surprise'' headline around here somewhere.) And so does his owner, Jerry Jones, who oversaw practice and played along.

"I am surprised,'' Jerry said, "but I can understand why he got excited to get out there. He got caught up in the enthusiasm of being with the team.''

I am not surprised. Not surprised at Owens' participation. And not surprised at the mainstream media's breathless attempts at stirring up an empty pot.

WHO'S HOT: Marcus Spears. The massive defensive end has been outspoken about his unhappiness playing under the previous head coach. Such comments place "put-up-or-shut-up'' pressure on a guy. After one day and two no-pads practices, Spears is "putting up.'' Coaches were pleased with his work, and even a layman could notice his high-level motor; in drills that featured defenders running to the ball, for instance, Spears was frequently downfield as fast and as far as the linebackers.

WHO'S NOT: Julius Jones. Oh, he's still "hot'' as a player. And his physique seems more impressive than ever. And yes, he's still the first-team guy ahead of MB3, with no suggestion from anybody around here that JuJo's status is in danger of changing. But Phillips – while detailing all the marvelous ways he plans on making use of JuJo's skills -- did take a poke at Julius' decision to do his offseason work elsewhere.

QUOTABLE: "Hard work and good times go together – but hard work comes first.'' – Wade Phillips, defending his "laid-back'' persona.

FISHELLANEOUS: The weather pulled some tricks on the Cowboys in the afternoon workout. The temperatures were in the 80's when it started raining, so the session was moved to inside the practice bubble. Upon the players' exit from the indoor facility, they were greeted by high humidity and 94 degrees. … Left tackle Flozell Adams appears to have lost some weight. … Phillips said injured Greg Ellis is still penciled in as an OLB starter. … The Cowboys' 10:30 a.m. workout is to be followed by an open locker-room period for media, and then a 3 p.m. workout. Sunday features a shorter day (locker room at 12:30, a single practice session at 3) and Monday's final day of this minicamp includes the morning and afternoon sessions. … Tony Romo is, as expected, no longer involved in placekick-holding duties. … Owens declined the invitation to speak to the media at large.

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