"I say, 'I support it,' and that's the way we go," Parcells said. "I don't view it as a gamble. It's in my best interest that he's successful. And it's in his best interest that he's successful. ...
"I'm not approaching this with the idea it's going to be adversarial or I'm going to be mandating every little thing this player does," he added.
Parcells loves keeping a low profile in the offseason, but he took it to an extreme this year, especially with all the scrutiny surrounding the signing of Owens and questions about whether owner Jerry Jones truly made the move with his coach's consent.
Parcells mentioned several times that the decision to sign Owens was made by the team's entire front office, noting that picking players "is about a 50-50 proposition anyway."
"We work as a team here, we really do," he said. "We make decisions as an organization and we do it collectively, now more than ever. Whatever decision we make, we all support that. I support whatever decision we make as an organization. I was part of it, I continue to be part of it.
"Hey, now, I'm not going to say we don't have a difference of opinion on some things. Once we go, we're going. If we're wrong, we'll cut our losses and keep going," he said.
The news conference Friday afternoon, following the first practice of a rookie mini-camp, marked Parcells' first comments to local media since Owens joined the club March 18. Sitting down at the start of the gathering, he smiled at the dozen or so cameras facing him and said, "Well, let me see what you want to talk about here."
The first question was obviously about Owens and the response wasn't exactly seven weeks in the making.
"He's a good, productive player -- has been for a long time," Parcells said. "I've seen quite a bit of him. I think he can help us."
Owens hasn't been taking part in the full offseason conditioning program at team headquarters, but Parcells said, "He's done exactly what I wanted," explaining that he wanted Owens to take care of some other matters first so they wouldn't be in the way later.
"I'm not giving him special leeway," Parcells said.
Parcells said he liked what he heard from several people who know Owens. He especially liked the fact Owens "responds to competition."
"If the answer to that question was no, then I probably would've had a problem with bringing him here," Parcells said. "Everyone I consulted on that -- which was people who know, not guess, know -- were very positive in that regard."
As for all the off-field incidents that have dogged Owens, speeding his departure from San Francisco and Philadelphia, Parcells said: "I think this thing has taken on a life of its own with him. ... I don't really know whether that's true or not. My best guess is it really is a little exaggerated."
Last season, the Cowboys started 7-3 but then faded to finish 9-7. They missed the playoffs for the second straight season and have gone 10 seasons without winning a playoff game.
Parcells signed a contract extension through 2007 before Owens was added.
"It hasn't gone exactly the way I wanted it to go," he said of his first three seasons. "I think we were a lot closer to being really good last year than anyone really knows."