Owens Refutes Report, Says He Didn't Attempt Suicide

Sept. 27, 2006 — -- Terrell Owens said he didn't try to commit suicide and said his publicist's call to 911 was a case of misunderstanding.

"There was no suicide attempt," Owens said. "The rumor of me taking 35 pills is absurd," said Owens, who said the rest of the pills in the empty bottle were in a drawer.

Owens said his publicist made the 911 call out of a fear for his well being.

"I really wasn't as coherent as they thought I was," Owens said when asked if he told rescue workers he tried to hurt himself. Owens said he took hydrocortisone for his hand and a number of supplements. "The list is too long. All of them are natural supplements."

When asked if he could play Sunday against Tennessee, Owens said "yeah."

The police report said the 32-year-old Owens told his publicist Kim Etheredge "that he was depressed," but she said Wednesday, "Terrell did not say he was despressed."

A confusing series of events swirled around T.O. with few answers for most of Wednesday after an internal police report indicated he tried to kill himself by overdosing on prescription pain medication, even putting two more pills into his mouth after a friend intervened.

The Dallas police report said Owens was asked by rescue workers "if he was attempting to harm himself, at which time [he] stated, 'Yes.'"

Owens left the hospital late Wednesday morning, giving reporters a "thumbs up" but making no comment as he was driven away in an SUV.

Dallas coach Bill Parcells said he didn't know any details, other than it was "apparently an unfortunate set of circumstances." He said it was too early to tell whether Owens might be able to practice this week or even play Sunday against Tennessee.

"I don't have enough information yet," he said. "I wouldn't [decide] anything right now. I'm talking with a good deal of ignorance on the subject."

Parcells said he had not spoken with Owens, but had discussed the case for a few minutes with team owner Jerry Jones.

"I think he felt the same way," Parcells said. "We just need to figure out what's going on."

After getting almost strictly Owens-related questions, 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."

The Cowboys said in a statement released Wednesday afternoon, "Our concerns right now are for his health and well being. 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."

The series of events began a little before 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Owens' publicist, Kim Etheredge, said she was at Owens' home when he took pain medicine for his broken right hand. Concerned by how he began acting, Etheredge said in various interviews Wednesday with Dallas-area media that she called 911. Owens was taken to a hospital, with Etheredge saying it was an allergic reaction to the medicine.

But early Wednesday, 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 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.'"

When officially released by police, about half the document was blacked out, including the phrases "attempting suicide by prescription pain medication" and "a drug overdose," as well as the details of Owens having two pills pried from his mouth and Owens saying "Yes" when asked if he intended to harm himself.

Etheredge, who said she was the friend cited in the police document, told Dallas-area media Wednesday that the police got the story wrong.

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

The friend, who is not identified in the report, "noticed that [his] prescription pain medication was empty and observed [Owens] putting two pills in his mouth," the police report said.

Using her fingers, the friend attempted to pry them out of Owens' mouth. Owens told police he had taken only five of the 40 pain pills in the bottle he'd emptied before the incident.

Etheredge said Wednesday that she didn't take anything out of Owens' mouth.

Police Lt. Rick Watson said he could only confirm that 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.

It is not a crime in Texas for a person to attempt suicide.

"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 and fire department spokesman Joel Lavender cited privacy laws for the lack of information they could provide. Lavender said more details could come from the 911 call. The Associated Press filed a request under the Freedom of Information Act to get the contents of the call.

"Let's just look at the tape, review the tape," Lavender said. "I'll give you an honest answer once I know something."

At the police news conference, 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.

According to the police report, Dallas Fire and Rescue was called regarding someone "attempting suicide by prescription pain medication." Officers arrived to find Owens being stabilized by ambulance workers, who then took him to Baylor University Medical Center.

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. Parcells said last week that the pain medicine made Owens ill.

Owens had not practiced since the injury, but because Dallas had a bye this past weekend he did not miss a game. He was expected to practice Wednesday, and Parcells had said there was a chance Owens could play Sunday against Tennessee.

Owens had been especially looking forward to the Cowboys' game after that -- Oct. 8, in Philadelphia, against the team that dumped him midway through last season only months after he helped them nearly win the Super Bowl.

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 doing 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 it 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.

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

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.