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Owens denies suicide attempt, cites allergy

DALLAS – Dallas Cowboys receiver Terrell Owens denied a police report yesterday that he attempted suicide, saying he became groggy after mixing painkillers with supplements.

As if to prove he’s doing fine, Owens went from the hospital to catching passes from quarterback Drew Bledsoe within two hours, then proclaimed himself “very capable of going out there and playing on Sunday,” despite whatever happened Tuesday night and a broken right hand.

Owens said the confusion likely stemmed from an empty bottle of pain medication found by his publicist, who was with him at the time and called 911. He said the rest of the pills were in a drawer.

“I was non-responsive when she made that call,” Owens said. “She made the call out of her judgment for my well-being.”

Appearing in a news conference at team headquarters a few hours after leaving a hospital for what a police report described as “a drug overdose,” Owens wore workout gear and no bandage on his right hand. The star receiver smiled and seemed more amused than peeved at the latest ruckus surrounding him.

Owens, 32, blamed a combination of hydrocodone, a generic form of Vicodin, with all-natural supplements for making him ill.

“It’s very unfortunate for it to go from an allergic reaction to a suicide attempt,” he said.

Rescue workers arrived at Owens’ home around 8 p.m. Tuesday and took him to an emergency room. When word spread, publicist Kim Etheredge said it was an allergic reaction.

But the story shifted yesterday morning when several media outlets received a police report, that had yet to be released by the authorities, saying Owens had attempted suicide by overdosing on the painkillers, even putting two more pills into his mouth after an unidentified friend, later identified as Etheredge, intervened.

The police document, first reported by WFAA-TV, said Owens was asked by rescue workers “if he was attempting to harm himself, at which time (he) stated: ‘Yes.'”

“I was kind of out of it,” Owens said. “I can barely even remember the doctors, much less the police officers asking me questions.”

Owens also said that he’s “not depressed about anything.”

Owens broke the bone leading to his right ring finger during a game a week ago Sunday. The next day, doctors screwed in a plate so the bone could heal without fear of further damage – leaving a 2-inch scar on top of his hand.

If he doesn’t play this Sunday, Owens might still return for the following game, Oct. 8, in Philadelphia, against the team that dumped him midway through last season only months after he helped them reach the Super Bowl.

Etheredge also appeared at Owens’ news conference, saying she “did not take anything out of his mouth” and that it was unfair for anyone to think Owens would kill himself.

“Terrell has 25 million reasons why he should be alive,” she said, referring to the $25 million, three-year contract he signed in March with the Cowboys.

“I’m just upset,” Etheredge added. “I feel they take advantage of Terrell. Had this been someone else, this may not have happened.”

Dallas police officials declined to comment on Etheredge’s denials. “We can’t discuss the police report because of privacy laws,” said a spokesman, Sgt. Gil Cerda.

Teammates and friends throughout the league rallied to support Owens even before he spoke, with many saying they thought the suicide report might be wrong.

“As soon as I got the news this morning, I had to make my call to make sure everything was OK. You know what? It was,” said Cincinnati receiver Chad Johnson, a close friend through their rivalry over the best end-zone celebrations.

Former Cowboys star Deion Sanders was with Owens at his home before he went to team headquarters.

“From my understanding, looking at him in the eye as a man and as a big brother, I said ‘Be straight up with me.’ He seems to be OK,” Sanders told the NFL Network, where he works as an analyst.

After getting almost strictly Owens-related questions, coach Bill Parcells cut off his usual 25-30 minute session after only nine minutes. He ended it by getting up from his chair and saying, “When I find out what the hell is going on, you will know. Until then, I’m not getting interrogated for no reason.”

Police Lt. Rick Watson said during his brief news conference that he could only confirm paramedics called police to say they were taking Owens to the hospital. He said no more details would come from the police because no laws were broken.

“We looked into it, and we determined it is not a criminal offense,” Watson said. “This a medical type of situation that occurred.”

Watson released the version of the police narrative with certain sections blacked out. The full report was obtained by several news outlets and reported first by WFAA. The Associated Press received the full version from WFAA.

The tape of the 911 call could help clear things up. The AP filed a request under the Texas Public Information Act to get its contents, but fire department officials said it would not be available before late Wednesday.

Owens, one of the league’s top receivers during his 11-year NFL career, is best known for wild stunts on the field and other publicity-seeking antics off it.

When the Cowboys signed him, they said their background checks indicated no red flags. In fact, team consultant Calvin Hill, who mostly deals with troubled players, said during training camp that his department was not involved with Owens because he didn’t have a history of those kinds of problems.

He missed most of training camp, and three of four preseason games, because of a hamstring injury. He was late for work during his recovery and was fined for it, but Owens laughed it off, saying he overslept. He said it had happened before, though not with Dallas, and would probably happen again.

Owens has played two games for the Cowboys, catching nine passes for 99 yards and a touchdown.

Owens, already a top receiver with the San Francisco 49ers, burst to prominence in 2000 for his celebration of two touchdowns on the star logo at midfield of Texas Stadium in a game against the Cowboys. A Dallas player blind-sided him after the second one.

The legend of T.O. grew when he celebrated another touchdown by pulling a Sharpie from his sock and autographing the ball in a 49ers game at Seattle. He’s also borrowed a cheerleader’s pompoms, done sit-ups on his driveway before TV cameras and mocked Ravens tough guy Ray Lewis’ celebration in a game against Baltimore.

Before a Monday night game against Dallas in 2004, Owens took part in a risqué promotional stunt with one of ABC’s “Desperate Housewives” that later prompted an apology from the network.

Owens was heavily praised while with the Eagles for playing well in the February 2005 Super Bowl, seven weeks after ankle surgery. However, his relationship with quarterback Donovan McNabb deteriorated soon after and the organization suspended him in midseason and later got rid of him amid contract complaints and other personality squabbles. Team owner Jeffrey Lurie said later that, even with the Super Bowl trip, he regretted having ever signed Owens.

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