Sun, Oct 01, 2006 - Page 23 News List

Suicide attempt or not, Owens stirs controversy

AP , IRVING, TEXAS

Now that police have decided Terrell Owens was hospitalized because of an "accidental overdose," the next big decision involving the Dallas Cowboys receiver is up to coach Bill Parcells.

Owens practiced on Thursday for the first time since breaking his hand Sept. 17 and spoke briefly with Parcells for the first time since being hospitalized on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.

Parcells came away pleased, but not ready to declare T.O. will play today in Tennessee.

Owens was back on the field for practice on Friday.

"We'll just see how it goes," Parcells said on Thursday. "I'm not sure where we're going to be on it when Sunday comes."

Parcells needs to make sure Owens is physically and mentally ready to play. While the coach will have the final say, he defers to experts in the other areas.

"I have to, as the coach, rely on other people to keep me informed as to really what's going on," Parcells said. "I can't form my own independent opinion other than those involving, `Is his hand functional and can he play on Sunday?' If my medical people tell me those things are in place, and then he looks like he's [OK], we'll make that consideration then."

Parcells didn't delve too deeply into the topic of Owens' mental state, but pointed out that Owens checked out of the hospital after about 15 hours.

"If they deemed it appropriate to release him, there must be a reason why they did that," he said.

While Owens was in the hospital, a police report that said he was depressed and tried to kill himself reached the media.

Owens denounced it a few hours later, saying he mixed pain killers he was prescribed for his hand injury with his supplements.

His version of the story lined up with several pieces of information released on Thursday -- a final report from police and the 911 tape from Tuesday night.

The police closed their investigation, having ruled out a suicide attempt.

Dallas Police Department Chief David Kunkle said he still has "great confidence" in his officers' initial report, but noted that document is not "the definitive account of the incident."

"We're dealing with incomplete information, and facts that change," he said.

For instance, the initial report indicated there was an empty pill bottle and 35 unaccounted for pain killers.

Owens later said the missing medicine was in a drawer.

"Further investigation leads you to a different conclusion," Kunkle said.

The 911 call by Owens' publicist Kim Etheredge shows that she was on the line for 41 seconds and never said anything about a suicide attempt.

"I think he took too many pills," she told a paramedic. "Please. Now. ... What do I do if the pills are down the throat?"

When Etheredge spoke to reporters on Wednesday, she lashed out at authorities, saying, "I am just upset that I just feel they take advantage of Terrell. Had this been someone else, this may not have happened."

Kunkle dismissed the criticism on Thursday, but the head of the Dallas Police Association didn't.

He called for an apology from Owens and Etheredge, saying, "We police officers don't go out to these calls and make stuff up."

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