T.O. said he 'overslept' and Cowboys OK with that

IRVING, Texas -- Terrell Owens overslept. That's it.

He insists he wasn't late for work Friday to send a message to
his bosses, test his boundaries or anything else his critics might

And, get this: He says it'll probably happen again, even if he
was fined $9,500.

"I think everybody has overslept, you know, once or twice in
their life," Owens said Monday, more amused than angry that a fuss
is being made over something that's happened to him before, though
not since he's joined the Cowboys.

"I wouldn't say our relationship is where it needs to be. But I think it's a building process for the both of us. It's obviously a work in progress. At this point, there is no tension between us."
-- Terrell Owens, on his relationship with Bill Parcells

"It's not a big deal," he said. "It was not something I
purposely tried to do. It's something that I will try to make more
of an effort, a better effort, to get here on time. Other than
that, it's really not a big issue."

Jerry Jones agrees, pointing out that some of the most
upstanding citizens in team history were fined for similar

He also insisted it's a mistake to read more into Owens'
tardiness, the fine and his lingering hamstring issue simply
because of T.O.'s past.

"From my standpoint, it's all good," Jones said. "Apart from
him not being on the field and getting repetitions, has it in any
way affected relationships on this team, teammates on this team,
relationships between me and Bill, me and the coaching staff,
Terrell and Bill, Terrell and the coaching staff? Zero impact

Owens called his tardiness "very unfortunate" and apologized
to his teammates. But, he added, "I've got to move on. I can't let
this get me down."

His tender hamstring is taking care of that.

Owens missed his 20th workout of the preseason Monday and is
unlikely to play Thursday night at home against Minnesota. The
bigger question is whether he'll play the season opener in

"I feel like I'm doing above and beyond things to get back on
the field, whether a lot of people know that or not," he said.
"I'm doing everything. Sometimes I come in here late at night just
doing extra treatment, getting in the hot tub, cold tub. ... I
think it's sometimes unfair that I'm getting all this criticism
because I'm hurt."

Whether Owens plays in the opener will depend on when he starts
practicing. If he never practices, he definitely won't play the
opener -- even if Jones has mentioned that Deion Sanders used to get
away with it.

Parcells said he has to see what Owens can do. And he's not
talking about watching highlights from the last 10 years, as Owens
suggested last week.

"What if he got hurt or didn't perform, what would happen
then?" Parcells said. "How would I know he is healthy if he
didn't practice? How would I know?"

Jones said he lets Parcells decide who to play.

"That's an area I probably could influence, but, no, I have
never influenced in my 17 years with the Cowboys as far as who goes
in the game and who doesn't and what time they go into the game,"
Jones said.

Jones and Parcells declined to comment specifically about the
fine, saying it's an internal matter. Jones went so far as to say
he'd fire whoever leaked the news, "I don't care who it is."

Yet Parcells knew he'd be asked about it, especially when he
walked in for his usual news conference and saw more reporters than
normal. He sat down, smiled and said, "Is this the Cuban missile
crisis today?"

"I know what you're all waiting for," Parcells said, "and
it's going to be in vain."

Parcells said he's known since the day Owens signed that, as the
coach, he'd have to deal with all sorts of additional headaches,
legitimate or not. But he's not going to let "all those
chatterboxes" change the way he runs his team.

"I'm going to do what I think is best for the Dallas Cowboys,"
he said. "Whatever opinion anyone else has is totally irrelevant
to my line of thinking because they don't have all the facts, and I
do. So I operate from a position of advantage. I consider the team
itself, the coaching staff, what we're trying to do here. I
consider things you people don't even think of."

Parcells also had a message to players who question what Owens
may or may not be getting away with.

"Them players need to worry about themselves, their job and
what they are doing, " he said. "There are some that have been
with me that know. Then there are others, they are going to have to

Just to clarify, Parcells said Owens "hasn't been a problem at

Still, it's clear that Parcells and Owens either have no
relationship or a fragile one. Even T.O. admitted Monday, "I
wouldn't say our relationship is where it needs to be."

"But I think it's a building process for the both of us,"
Owens said. "It's obviously a work in progress. At this point,
there is no tension between us."

At this point.

Although they didn't have to make any moves, the
Cowboys released WR LaShaun Ward, CB Lenny Williams, S Justin
Beriault, WR J.R. Tolver and K Tyler Fredrickson. Instead of being
at the NFL-mandated 75, Dallas has 70 players. The roster must be
at 53 on Sunday. ... K Mike Vanderjagt did some rehab work on his
sore groin, but also kicked. Asked if he's going to need to keep
Shaun Suisham for kickoffs, and perhaps as an emergency replacement
to Vanderjagt, Parcells said: "I don't know that yet. I'm hoping I
don't have to." ... Jones on Vanderjagt's injury: "When the
kicker goes down it makes you wonder if you are snake bit."