Terrell Owens was the guest toninght on the "Sunday Conversation" on ESPN SportsCenter. The interview was conducted by Terrell's good buddy and our old friend, Michael Irvin. I was a little nervous when I saw the promo for this interview, when these two got together before it turned into a pretty ugly affair for Owens and the Eagles. But, Irvin lobbed up softballs to Owens and didn't really press him on his answers. Thank goodness, I think Mike was doing us a little favor. Who knows what would of come out of Owens' mouth had Mike wanted to stir things up. My transcript of the interview below.
Mike Irvin: How do you see your responsibility as a role model?
Terrell Owens: I take that to heart. It took me some time to realize that, because you have some people who don't want to be role models but in actuality they are in the eyes of little kids. And no matter how much you don't want to be, outside of their parents they look to other people to find success, they look to find other athletes like myself, and Michael Jordan, the Vince Carters, the Kobe Bryants. They look to us as athletes to be that father figure or stepping-stone.
MI: What lessons do you teach the kids beyond football skills? Life lessons?
TO: Number one that comes to mind the first day when I came up, a lot of kids saw my shades, my shoes, my earrings, and they start asking me all the wrong questions. It got to the point where I just had to stop and just tell everybody"Look, this is not what it's all about, its not about the cars, the glamour, the glitz". I try to tell them you'll never get any of that if you don't stay in school, if your constantly getting in and out of trouble, that's not going to help you get where you want to be
MI: What regrets do you have from the last couple of years?
TO: There are some things that happened, that transpired, you know, you just have to deal with the consequences of the whole thing. I've done that, deal with the cards your dealt and move on and I've done that.
MI: How do you feel when you hear people say you are not a good teammate?
TO: It doesn't matter really. I think, I feel in my heart that I've always been a good teammate. A good teammate is someone who goes out and practices hard and plays hard. Someone who puts their lives and their careers on the line. I think I fall into everything I just said.
MI: What, if any, assurances or promises did you have to give the Cowboys organization, Jerry Jones or Bill Parcells?
TO: I don't think there were any assurances or promises made. I think it was understood. You know, I'm a grown adult, a person who learns from mistakes that I've made. Bill and I have a common goal, and that's to play hard and win football games. I think when your doing that your on the right track to success.
MI: When did you and Bill first have a conversation?
TO: Maybe...it was part of early May. I had maybe a 30-40 minute talk with him. It was very enlightening, very encouraging...
MI: Enlightening in what way?
TO: The perception is kind of mis-construed, I kind of fell victim to that because you listen to a lot of reporters, you read a lot of newspapers. You know how they say, "Bill is a no nonsense guy, hard on you, this and that, he's a jerk. I didn't get that from Bill.
MI: Well what did you get?
TO: Mainly just were not going to have any problems. He told me just basically he's a straight-shooter, he has a problem when his expectations are higher than the player's own. When he said that, I knew from that point we weren't going to have any problems because I always have high expectations for myself.
MI: How important is it to have a coach like Parcells for you?
TO: I know I'm being repetitive with this, but honestly, I think I've wanted and I've longed, for so long, for a coach who can match my intensity and match my personality. That's definitely a guy I think has been criticized for whatever reason, his personality has been mis-diagnosed, I feel like I'm the same way. That's the thing I've grasped from Bill, he's totally opposite, it's night and day, from what I've heard about him.
MI: Bill is known to come up with pet names for his star players. Has he come up with a pet name for you yet?
TO: I don't think that he can come up with anything past T.O. Other than that, he can probably call me "Touchdown T.O.", because I plan to score a lot of touchdowns.