With all due respect, Fins weren't touching T.O.

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham
DANA POINT, Calif. -- The Miami Dolphins have a serious need at wide receiver.

Terrell Owens was on the market.

I asked Dolphins coach Tony Sparano if he had any interest in signing the future Hall of Famer and locker-room lightning rod.

Sparano chuckled silently, paused for a few seconds and shook his head no with a smile.

"Why not?," I prodded.

"No comment," Sparano said after another delay.

But Sparano was captive. He was seated at his assigned table Tuesday morning for the AFC coaches' media breakfast as part of the annual NFL owners' meeting at the St. Regis Hotel.

Sparano was exposed to Owens' act for two years. Sparano was the Cowboys' offensive line coach in Owens' first two seasons with the America's Team. Miami football operations boss Bill Parcells was Dallas' head coach the first season. Miami general manager Jeff Ireland was a top Dallas scout.

Given his familiarity with what Owens can do, I asked Sparano what he thought of having to stop him when the Dolphins play the Buffalo Bills.

"Terrell's an outstanding player," Sparano said. "He's a very good player. He's in our division now, and having to face him twice a year, I know the things that he can do over the course of a game.

"The guy can take over a game no different than Randy Moss can take over a game. From our end, that's a challenge. You bring these big, physical receivers into the division and you have to address it.

"Buffalo gets better in making that move. We'll have to address the challenge as we get to it. Terrell's a guy that's going to require the same amount of attention that Randy Moss, [Larry] Fitzgerald and those kind of guys require."

Sounds like the Dolphins, who are devoid of a big-play receiver, sure could use an offensive threat like that.

So why not pursue Owens?

"No comment," Sparano replied, laughing again.