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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, June 25, 2009

NFL: Terrell Owens blames Tony Romo for Cowboys' leadership gap

By Clarence E. Hill Jr.
McClatchy Newspapers

DUNCANVILLE, Texas Former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Terrell Owens said Thursday he became a scapegoat for quarterback Tony Romo's lack of leadership, and he hasn't talked to owner Jerry Jones since he was released in March.

Owens has been in the Dallas/Fort Worth area the past two days working his youth football camp at Duncanville High School. He was also the guest of honor at a going-away party on Thursday night at The Empire Room in downtown Dallas.

Owens has been in touch with several of his former teammates, including wide receiver Sam Hurd and safety Ken Hamlin, who helped work the camp Wednesday. Several of his former teammates were expected to attend the party.

Owens had a close relationship with many of his teammates during his three years in Dallas. However, there apparently has been no reconciliation with Jones or Romo.

"I have not had any conversation with Jerry since being released. It's behind me and I'm moving forward," Owens said Thursday. "I miss Dallas, but I have a new team and it's already behind me."

Owens has said in the past that Jones betrayed him and lied about keeping him before turning around and releasing him in March.

One week after being released by the Cowboys, Owens signed a one-year, $6.5 million contract with Buffalo.

Jones, who was attending an event at the new Cowboys Stadium on Thursday, declined to comment on Owens' assertions.

"Is he in town today? I'm pretty busy around here," Jones said.

According to the Cowboys, one of the reasons the team released Owens was to make the locker room more Romo-friendly. Owens' departure is supposed to allow Romo to have complete leadership control of the team.

That didn't happen last year and couldn't happen with Owens around, the Cowboys surmised.

Owens said Romo's lack of leadership was more about Romo than him.

"He was the quarterback of the team. I think everybody realized that. It was upon him to adopt that leadership role and carry that out. Obviously, they saw that didn't happen," Owens said. "So, for whatever reason, I'll be the scapegoat. I'm not here. Now, it's his team. You know, and I wish him well."

In wishing Romo well, Owens said he remains mystified as to why their relationship deteriorated especially considering the tears he shed following the playoff loss in the 2007 season to the New York Giants and the seemingly good tidings heading into training camp last season.

It all came to a head late last season when Owens complained to offensive coordinator Jason Garrett about too many passes going to tight end Jason Witten.

"Your guess is as good as mine," Owens said as to the split with Romo. "I don't know what happened. Obviously, somebody is lying somewhere. I don't know what happened. All I know is that I'm not here. I'm with the Buffalo Bills, and I'll leave it at that."

Owens left Dallas just as he did in Philadelphia and San Francisco before with a splintered locker room and the team believing it was better off without him

"I'm not worried about it," Owens said. "Three teams have said that. But you can rate them how it was when I was there and after I left. The pressure is not on me."


(c) 2009, Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

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