Published September 27, 2006
DALLAS – Dallas Cowboys receiver Terrell Owens on Wednesday tried to dispel any rumors of a suicide attempt on his part, saying he simply took some extra painkillers for a hand injury along with his usual supplements and that news reports saying otherwise were "absurd."
A police report released earlier in the day said officers responded to a 911 call made to paramedics from Owens' home, saying the football player had overdosed on pain medication. He was later taken to the hospital; there were early reports that Owens had suffered an allergic reaction to the medicine.
"I want to thank God for me being here ... this is definitely an unfortunate situation and I'm just trying to be here just to clarify any of the rumors that are out there toward me having a suicide attempt," Owens said at the opening of the press conference. "There was no suicide attempt."
"It's very unfortunate for it to go from an allergic reaction to a suicide attempt," he said.
Owens was released from the hospital before noon. He flashed a thumbs-up to reporters as he left, went home, then made it to team headquarters in time to catch passes from quarterback Drew Bledsoe. Owens said he expected to return to practice Thursday and would like to play in Sunday's game against the Tennessee Titans.
"He seemed to be in good spirits and looked like he was looking forward to getting back on the field as soon as he could," Bledsoe said. "I was happy to see him here and happy to see him running around and going. ... Obviously, he's doing fine."
The Dallas police report, first released by WFAA-TV Wednesday morning, said Owens told rescue workers "that he was depressed." The report says Owens put two more pills into his mouth after fire rescue personnel arrived.
But Owens' publicist Kim Etheredge said she never said Owens was depressed and refuted any reports that pointed to a suicide attempt. She said she called 911 because when she tried to talk to Owens after he took the pills and had treatment for his injury, he was not responsive.
"Terrell had a reaction to some pills … Terrell has 25 million reasons to be alive," she said in reference to the salary Owens is getting from the Cowboys.
"I was non-responsive when she made that call," Owens said. "She made the call out of her judgment for my well-being."
According to the police report, a 911 call was made at 7:47 p.m. Central time. Paramedics apparently found an empty pain medication bottle in Owens' home. The rescue worker that responded also "noticed that (his) prescription pain medication was empty and observed (Owens) putting two pills in his mouth," according to the report.
The paramedic attempted to pry them out with her fingers, then was told by Owens that before this incident he'd taken only five of the 40 pain pills in the bottle he'd emptied. The police report says the worker then asked Owens "if he was attempting to harm himself, at which time (he) stated, 'Yes."'
"I wasn't coherent as they probably thought I was," Owens said Wednesday. "A number of people were asking me questions. I don't remember the police officers that were in there or the doctors that were in there."
Owens said Wednesday that he felt "groggy" after taking a mixture of painkillers and supplements and that he had taken many of the pills from the bottle and put them in a drawer.
"I don't think I'd be here if I took 35 pills," he told reporters, adding that rumors that he had his stomach pumped are "definitely untrue."
The prescription was filled Sept. 18, the day after Owens broke a bone in his hand during a Cowboys game. He had an operation the next day to have a plate screwed in, enabling the bone to heal without being further injured.
Earlier Wednesday, Dallas Police Lt. Rick Watson would neither confirm nor deny whether Owens attempted suicide but he confirmed that police met paramedics at Owens' location before he was taken to Baylor Medical Center. There are no criminal matters relating the incident, Watson said; attempted suicide is a criminal offense.
"This is a high-profile person. 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 a 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 AP received the full version from WFAA.
Fire department spokesman Joel Lavender cited privacy laws for the lack of information they could provide. But Lavender said more details could come from the 911 call.
"Let's just look at the tape, review the tape," Lavender said. "I'll give you an honest answer once I know something."
The Cowboys earlier released a statement saying they have few facts regarding the incident.
"Our concerns right now are for his health and well being," the statement said. "This is a medical issue that involves an individual's personal health. When we have additional information on Terrell's condition as it relates to his playing status, we will share it with you."
Coach: Owens Seemed 'Fine'
Cowboy's coach Bill Parcells said last week that the pain medicine Owens was taking for his hand made him ill. During a press conference Wednesday, Parcells was peppered with questions about Owens, but said he knew nothing about his player's condition or about what happened.
"I'm not the team physician, I'm just the coach and I'm trying to get this team ready to play Tennessee" on Sunday, Parcells said after reporters continued to ask him about Owens. "When I find out what the hell is going on, you'll know, until then, I'm not getting interrogated for no reason."
Parcells said that Owens seemed "fine" during practice Tuesday and in days prior to that. As to whether the incident has caused a distraction for the team, he said: "I don't think something of this nature is what I would term a 'distraction.' It's an unfortunate set of circumstances and I'd like be clear on what they are before I comment on the future."
NFL Network analyst Deion Sanders said he spoke with Owens shortly before his release from the hospital and that Owens was in good spirits.
"The fact that it has been reported a suicide attempt, he's laughed at that notion. It was a case that medication that was taken wasn't accepted well in his system with the other vitamins he's on," Sanders said.
Owens was seen laughing and joking on the practice field Tuesday morning. He chatted briefly with reporters in the locker room in the afternoon and seemed fine. A 2-inch scar on the top of his hand was puffy but not wrapped, and he said the swelling was going down.
While in the locker room, he took a pill from a white paper bag and looked at another medicine bottle that was in the bag. He also called a business partner about a towel-wrap venture they're starting and joked to TV cameras that he wasn't talking until Wednesday and today was only Tuesday.
"My little boy knows better than that," he said, laughing, as he plopped onto a sofa in the middle of the locker room.
Also Tuesday, Owens was involved in launching a national campaign for the National Alliance to End Abuse, an organization aimed at helping at-risk youngsters. He appeared at a high school Tuesday morning and was scheduled to visit others but had to cancel because of changes in the team's practice schedule.
Known as one of National Football League's top wide receivers, Owens was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in 1996, and he played there until 2003 amid increasing conflicts with teammates and media. After the 2003 season, Owens was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles, where he established himself as one of the most prolific receivers in that team's history in just one season.
When the Cowboys signed him to a $25 million, three-year deal in March, they said their background checks indicated no red flags.
Owens he's also made headlines for his sometime outlandish behavior, both on and off the field. During the second season of his seven-year, $48.97 contract, Owens wanted the Eagles to renegotiate his deal. When the Eagles refused, he threatened to skip training camp altogether. He did show up to practice but was more distant than usual. He was later kicked out of training for a week after arguing with head coach Andy Reid. But true to form, Owens refused to apologize for his behavior.
FOXNews.com's Liza Porteus and The Associated Press contributed to this report.