Hicks Says T.O. Situation No Biggie

While wide receiver Terrell Owens became a huge distraction for the Philadelphia Eagles last year and is back in the public eye in Dallas, former Eagle and current Viking Artis Hicks says the Eagles offensive linemen did a good job of trying to ignore last year's saga.

Vikings guard Artis Hicks has already lived the saga that is unfolding in Dallas, the one that follows the script of wherever Terrell Owens goes, so goes the media.

Hicks played with Owens in Philadelphia the last two years, but Hicks was traded to Minnesota during draft weekend 2006 and Owens was signed by the Dallas Cowboys in free agency. But the scene taking place in Dallas is familiar to Hicks.

Owens' first official practice in roughly seven months was greeted by about 50 reporters and television cameras. He looked the same on the field, as the Cowboys opened a three-day minicamp on Friday. He was strong, dominant and explosive, while catching every thing thrown to him, according to reports out of Dallas.

Wearing a Cowboys white jersey and his trademark tights, Owens said he was having fun again.

"I am going to embrace it," Owens said. "I am here with a great team and a great coach and a great owner, and I am looking forward to the opportunity that I can make here and help this team win. That is why they brought me in here. I feel like once I get on the field, I will let my playing talk for me."

He says he is a different person, as he has learned from his mistakes in Philadelphia last season that resulted in a season-ending suspension and his subsequent release. He said he has been humbled by his time away from the game and is motivated come back better than ever.

"You kind of grow and learn from your mistakes and I think I have done that," Owens said. "I plan on trying to be a better person in life and better teammate."

To hear Hicks tell it, however, the offensive linemen in Philadelphia didn't pay much attention to the spectacle Owens created around the Eagles last year, as his divisive attitude landed him a suspension, which he used to create more of a media circus at his home.

"I think the media made it more than what it really was because that's a media market unlike any other place," Hicks told Viking Update last month. "They took it and ran with it and they were filming him in his front yard doing the situps and pushups. They took it and had a good time with it, sold a lot of newspapers, got a lot of people tuning in to the local spots station. If you look at it from their perspective, they did their job with it."

But while the offensive linemen tried to ignore the distraction that was Owens, it could hardly go unnoticed.

"It was like a nuthouse around there, but most people did a good job of not commenting on it because we understand that that's not our business. If it's something that involves me, then, yeah, I'll speak on it. But if it involves somebody else, I don't know their situation and what happened, I have no right to comment and speak on that," Hicks said. "That's the approach a lot of us guys took. It wasn't as big of a deal in the locker room as a lot of the media made it seem."

Considered selfish and divisive in Philadelphia, Owens said he wasn't going to have any problems with Dallas coach Bill Parcells' disciplined style or conservative offense.

"Bill is going to shoot you straight," said Owens, who has had several conversations with Parcells about what is expected of him. "I feel I am a straight shooter and so is he. I feel like it's a match made in heaven. I am looking forward to it."

Despite last seasons' dispute with Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb or his poor relationship with quarterback Jeff Garcia during his days in San Francisco, he doesn't foresee any problems with Cowboys quarterback Drew Bledsoe.

"We have talked," Owens said. "I called him when I got signed and we have talked a few times and the conversation has been great. We have texted each other a few times. He has been keeping up with what I am doing and I kind of keep up with what he is doing. Sometimes I bug him when he is on the golf course and he has to call me back later. But it has gone well."

Owens plans to make the most of this final chance in Dallas because it likely established how he will be remembered in the NFL.

"I feel like at this point that I am with the greatest team in the nation," Owens said. "I have a chance to go out here on top with one of the greatest teams, coaches and owners.

And yet there may be more distractions for Dallas on the horizon. Owens has written a book on last season's mishaps in Philadelphia, which will be certain to bring the media flocking to Eagles and Cowboys practices in the near future.

"The book is the book. I feel like everyone can make their judgments after they read it," he said. "I think that book is basically as close to the truth as I can tell it. I don't feel that anything that book will entail will distract this team or my teammates or the Cowboys organization."

At least Hicks can monitor the situation from afar, just as Owens' former offensive coordinator, Brad Childress, now with the Vikings, can.

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