T.O. irritated by Keyshawn's assertions about current team

Terrell Owens, unusually quiet this season, but never at a loss for words when the occasion required it, responded forcefully Wednesday to comments made last weekend by former Dallas Cowboys receiver Keyshawn Johnson, now an analyst on ESPN's "Sunday NFL Countdown."

On the show, Johnson said he believed former Cowboys coach Bill Parcells -- now also an analyst with ESPN -- deserves credit for what the Dallas team looks like now, with a 12-1 record.

In Dallas, Owens sharply criticized Johnson for defending Parcells, saying, "I challenge him to come down here and take my job. ESPN producers, let him go."

Asked in the locker room why Johnson would take the position he did Sunday, Owens said: "I'm probably the reason he's in the booth now. He's going to be a hater and throw me under the bus because he has to defend Bill. He won a Super Bowl and all, but you'd have to check the roster to know he was even on the team.

"We came out in the same year. He was a first-rounder and I was a third. Go compare our stats. He couldn't come down here now and be a third or fourth receiver on this team. Just compare our stats."

Owens swung between addressing the Cowboys-as-built-by-Parcells theory and responding to Johnson's comments.

"It's not a matter of me giving or not giving Bill credit," Owens said, according to The Dallas Morning News. "Everybody wants to make a big deal, that this is the team he built. It doesn't matter. ... My thing is give credit to Wade [Phillips]. The difference between Wade and Parcells is this: Parcells, he didn't use me as a playmaker; Wade, he got the staff, and that's what I'm being used as.

"Plain and simple, without trying to be negative or anything. I'm being used as a playmaker, and as I said, the proof is in the pudding."

And then back to delivering a verbal barrage at Johnson:

"Those guys are probably talking about me, chopping it up, drinking coffee," Owens said. "They can have their little pity party and talk about me all day long. It doesn't bother me. There's a lot of people on the ESPN panel and across the country that has observed what has happened this year versus last year. And there's a lot of people that just don't want to give credit for what Wade has done and what wasn't done last year. That's it. I'm not trying to be negative."