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Parcells's playoff speech lost on party-minded Owens

When Bill Parcells told the Dallas Cowboys what it takes to win a championship, Terrell Owens wasn't listening.

"The championship speech? I must have went to sleep on that one," Owens said, laughing.

Parcells gave his speech Monday, a day after a pivotal win in New York and hours before Owens flew to Los Angeles for an ostentatious 33d birthday party he threw himself. All sorts of Hollywood types showed up and the Maloof family, owners of the Sacramento Kings, gave him a diamond watch worth nearly $50,000.

Back in the locker room yesterday, Owens insisted he didn't recall Parcells's words of wisdom about the things the Cowboys (8-4) need to do down the stretch as they try to win their division for the first time since 1998.

"I can't remember. I had my mind on the party," he said when asked a second time about Monday's speech. "I have no earthly idea of what you are possibly talking about. I don't remember. I was already in LA . . . He'll have to redo it."

Things have been pretty quiet on the T.O. front since Parcells changed quarterbacks, dumping Drew Bledsoe for Tony Romo. The Cowboys are 5-1 since, with four straight wins, and Owens's numbers have shot up, too.

At least Owens shares his coach's sentiment that the Cowboys are a Super Bowl contender.

"I think he has every reason to really kind of speak positively because there are some positive things that have been happening here the last few weeks," he said.

Delhomme ailing
Struggling Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme sat out practice because of a sprained right thumb suffered in Monday's loss to Philadelphia, meaning Chris Weinke could make his first start in almost five years against the Giants Sunday. Both teams have 6-6 records and are part of a four-way tie in the NFC wild-card race . . . Giants linebacker LaVar Arrington equated the players union with organized crime yesterday, 24 hours before he was scheduled to testify before Congress at a hearing involving his former agent. Lawmakers will be looking into the NFL Players Association's suspension of Arrington's former agent, Carl Poston, stemming from his handling of a contract the linebacker signed with the Redskins near the end of the 2003 season. Arrington contends the union acted unfairly in taking away Poston's livelihood. Union head Gene Upshaw told the Associated Press in a telephone interview that Poston made a major mistake in the contract by omitting an alleged second $6.5 million roster bonus that was due in 2006 . . . Marques Colston and Joe Horn, the Saints' top two receivers, missed practice again and were listed as questionable for Sunday night's game at Dallas . . . A day after the NFL moved the Dec. 17 Miami-Buffalo game to 4:05 p.m., the league switched it back to its original 1 p.m. start . . . The Lions will play their final four games without Shaun Rogers, perhaps their best player. The defensive tackle was placed on injured reserve, ending his season after he played only six games. Rogers was suspended for four games by the NFL in October for taking a banned substance to help control his weight. He had knee surgery while he was away from the team, and he did not play when he was eligible because coach Rod Marinelli said he wasn't healthy . . . Coach Brad Childress knows who will start at quarterback for the Vikings Sunday at Detroit. He's not telling yet. Childress said he has made a decision between veteran Brad Johnson and rookie Tarvaris Jackson, then resorted to gamesmanship when pressed about which player will be under center against the Lions. Childress said he has informed the quarterback he has chosen. Meanwhile, Vikings running back Chester Taylor, the NFL's fifth-leading rusher, is listed as doubtful because of bruised ribs . . . Bears Pro Bowl defensive tackle Tommie Harris will miss Monday's game at St. Louis because of a sprained left knee and strained hamstring . . . Three days after being carted off the field with a neck injury, Broncos linebacker Al Wilson returned to practice and is listed as questionable for Sunday's game against San Diego . . . Running back Willis McGahee and cornerback Terrence McGee missed practice, and both were listed as questionable for Buffalo's game at the Jets this weekend . . . Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson returned to practice, but right tackle Kyle Turley went out because of a shoulder injury . . . Green Bay's Brett Favre, 37, who has made an NFL quarterback-record 253 consecutive starts, said he probably will need arthroscopic surgery on his left ankle after the season to clean out bone spurs.

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