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Living in harmony

Silent Parcells tacitly approves Owens signing

Posted: Monday April 3, 2006 8:57AM; Updated: Tuesday April 4, 2006 1:47AM
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Terrell Owens
The big question in Dallas is, Can Terrell Owens co-exist with Bill Parcells?
Robert Beck/SI
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I'm writing about Terrell Owens again. Many of you, I'm sure, will quickly click to my next page or  -- and this may serve me right -- just click away from this column entirely. I understand. You want the media to stop the madness, stop writing about T.O. until he does something that merits our attention.

Before I make my main point, let me hand out my one T.O. Opinion of the Week. Owens is "writing'' his second autobiography in as many years. Simon & Schuster is publishing it. Reputable firm -- until this agreement, that is. What S&S should do is hand out a coupon with each book for a free session with a neurologist, because you need to have your head examined if you pay for a second book by Owens to read whatever self-serving things he has to say.

Now for the reason I'm writing about him again. There's a perception out there that the signing of Owens was all the doing of Dallas owner Jerry Jones, and that coach Bill Parcells, conspicuously silent in the 16 days since Owens became a Cowboy, doesn't like the deal. The line of thinking goes that Parcells has been saying for years that he's too old to take the kind of guff he'd have to take from a guy like Owens, so he wouldn't have favored the signing.

I'm told, reliably, that Parcells was given a chance to put the kibosh on the signing on two occasions -- once by Jones and once by his son, Dallas chief operating officer Stephen Jones -- and both times he refused. Jerry Jones told me about one of the occasions at last week's NFL owners' meetings.

"Bill not being in favor of the deal, nothing can be further from the truth,'' Jones said in his suite. "In fact, just before we signed Terrell, the same day we signed him, I called Bill just to alert him and to be sure we were all OK with this. I said, 'Now, I'm about to hit it [sign him], and if you don't want me to hit it, tell me now.' He said, 'No, no, go ahead. I'm with you.'''

Parcells genuinely likes Jones. He thinks he's trying to help the team. Sometimes I think Parcells' regard for Jones surprises even Parcells, who has never been a fan of intrusive owners. But he likes Jones because the owner puts his blood and sweat into the franchise, he's around all the time and he won't do anything football-wise that Parcells does not favor.

I can tell you this: Theirs is the kind of relationship that would preclude Jones from forcing a player on Parcells whom Parcells would not want. Even though Dallas had to get rid of Keyshawn Johnson, in essence, to make room for Owens, and Parcells is a Keyshawn backer, that doesn't mean the coach was against the Johnson whacking and acquisition of Owens. Parcells is a bottom-liner. If Owens is going to be a better player for the team than Johnson, and the team can survive the T.O. tornado, get him in here.