T.O. on grumpy Steve Smith: 'I feel his frustration'

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

Terrell Owens is trying not to be the divisive personality he used to be.

"As of now, you see that I haven't had any gripes about anything," Owens told reporters Wednesday at the Buffalo Bills' facility. "I'm just going with the flow of what’s going on and going with the plays that are called." Owens


That said, Owens sympathizes with what Carolina Panther receiver Steve Smith is going through.

Smith caught one pass for 4 yards in Sunday's victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. His lone reception came on the final drive.

Afterward, Smith said: "We get the win, but I have a limited role. So, obviously, I see this game as showing I'm no longer an asset to this team."

Owens said he can identify with those feelings. He was asked about Smith because the Bills play the Panthers on Sunday. Owens and Smith were chosen as his division's biggest underachiever for an ESPN.com package that came out Wednesday morning.

"Well, yeah, I feel his frustration," Owens said. "I know where he is coming from. Especially when you know you can play this game at a high level, and for whatever reason I can't really comment on why he's not being involved.

"Obviously, he's voicing his opinion, and I've been there before. They have to deal with that on that side, but I totally understand where he is coming from, especially when you feel like you have the talents to be a game-breaker, as you’ve always been, and for whatever reason it’s not getting done down there.

"For myself, I understand the situation that I'm in here. So every day I just go out and practice hard and try to get better every day."

Owens is on pace for his worst season since he was a rookie with the San Francisco 49ers in 1996. Not even a seven-game season for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2005 will be less productive that his projections for the rest of this season: 40 receptions, 573 yards and fewer than three touchdowns.

He also had his reception streak snapped at 185 games in Week 3.

A reporter asked if it's more acceptable for Smith to be outspoken as a ninth-year Panther than it would be for Owens as a first-year Bill.

"There is some truth to that, and for me I just have to go with the opportunities that are given to me," Owens said. "I can't really force the issue. And, again, I know I can play. That’s not something that bothers me. We just have to find ways to win, and I think however we win, we win.

"As you saw last weekend it wasn't the prettiest of wins, but we found a way to kind of grind it out and get the win, and that's all you can ever be concerned with is the wins. I've always said, especially back in San Francisco, if we're winning, you're not going to hear too much from me. If we're losing, then it's an obvious problem.

"So when some things are very obvious, I don't really have to say much. For myself, I just come here and do whatever I can to get better, come out here and practice hard and try to show my leadership when I can."