Tuesday, September 26
Owens suspended one week

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Terrell Owens won't be celebrating anything this Sunday.

Owens, San Francisco's top receiver, was fined a week's salary and suspended for a game by coach Steve Mariucci on Monday for his touchdown celebrations during the 49ers' victory at Dallas.

Terrell Owens
Terrell Owens celebrates his second-quarter touchdown against the Cowboys at midfield.

After both of his touchdowns in the 41-24 victory at Texas Stadium, Owens sprinted to midfield and celebrated on the Cowboys' star logo. Some of his teammates said the displays fired them up, but others said Owens embarrassed them.

"This decision is based on how we intend to conduct ourselves," Mariucci said. "It disturbs me when the integrity of the game is compromised in any way, shape or form."

Owens will lose $24,294 and won't be allowed to practice or meet with his teammates this week. San Francisco (1-3) plays Arizona at home Sunday.

Mariucci said he spoke to the league office about his decision to discipline Owens, and he didn't know whether the NFL planned to level its own fine or suspension as well.

Owens, a five-year veteran best known for his game-winning TD catch with 3 seconds left in a 1999 playoff game against Green Bay, is San Francisco's leading receiver this season with 23 catches for 328 yards and four touchdowns.

On Sunday, Emmitt Smith responded to Owens' first outburst with his own midfield celebration after a 1-yard TD just before halftime.

When Owens caught a 1-yard TD pass with 4:05 left to make it 41-17, he again took off toward midfield. Dallas safety George Teague followed Owens and leveled him as he kneeled on the logo, touching off a heated confrontation between the teams.

Teague was ejected, while Owens received a penalty for taunting but was not ejected. The victory was San Francisco's first in four games this season.

"T.O. is a guy who likes to celebrate, and this time it just got a little out of hand," quarterback Jeff Garcia said. "I don't agree with things like that. When great things happen, we celebrate as a team."

The 49ers said the punishment wasn't technically a suspension, and Owens will be left on the team's 53-man roster. Owens' absence will mean additional playing time for receivers Jerry Rice, J.J. Stokes and Tai Streets.

"Terrell is a different kind of guy," Rice said. "He plays on a lot of emotion. This has to be very difficult. Hopefully, with this little break, he can think over the situation and just be better."

Mariucci said Owens' unrepentant attitude following his celebrations "didn't help." Though Owens apologized to his teammates after the game, he told reporters he didn't regret his actions, and would do it again.

"(Mariucci) told me to handle it with class, that I should go in the end zone and act like I've been there," Owens said Sunday. "But I'm my own person. I bring my own emotion to the game, and I can't let him take away from my game."

Mariucci said he didn't confront Owens about his first touchdown celebration because he didn't see it. Still, Owens apologized to his teammates after the game and admitted the 49ers have warned him about exhibiting poor sportsmanship in the past.

"They've told me that since I've been here, but ... that's the way I play," Owens said. "I think everybody wants me to follow in Jerry's footsteps, act with class. Jerry has the style of game he plays, I've got my style of game that I play."

Owens, when told of Mariucci's decision on Monday morning, apparently didn't take it well. Team officials indicated he left the 49ers' Santa Clara headquarters in anger.

"I can't compromise our rules and values and the way we approach the game," Mariucci said.

Raiders receiver Andre Rison said he had dinner with Owens at a San Francisco restaurant Sunday night, and "we laughed about it," Rison said.

"I don't think Terrell was wrong," he said. "Everybody has their own emotions."

The Raiders visit the 49ers on Oct. 8, the next game in which Owens will be allowed to play.

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VIDEO audio
 Terrell Owens sounds off in a telephone conference call Tuesday.
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 Steve Mariucci says Terrell Owens crossed the line.
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 Steve Mariucci is upset at his players behavior during Sunday's game against Dallas.
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 Mike Tirico talks with Chris Mortensen about Terrell Owens' suspension by the 49ers.
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 Terrell Owens explains his celebration tactics on the Dallas star.
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 Tom Jackson gives his perspective on how to handle a showboat.
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 Emmitt Smith responds to Terrell Owens celebrating at mid-field.
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