Cowboys set to turn page
Team closes the book on T.O. era
Jerry Jones made it clear, both in action and words: Getting rid of Terrell Owens means a fresh start for the Dallas Cowboys.
Though the news was widely reported late Wednesday night, T.O. was officially released yesterday, ending a three-year run that produced as many big headlines as big plays. Many of those headlines were about ego and attitude, and Jones has decided enough is enough. He wants the focus on winning, something the Cowboys haven't done in the playoffs since 1996.
"In the aftermath of the season, we talked about change," Jones said in a statement. "Some of what is changing involves the process and some of it involves people. This is a decision that was made based upon consideration for an entire team.
"We will move on now with a new team - a new attitude - and into a new stadium. The evaluation process and the prospect for change will continue at every level of the organization."
Owens released a statement on his website thanking Jones, coach Wade Phillips, and the organization "for the opportunity to be a member of the team for the past three years."
"A big thanks to the fans - you've been awesome! I look forward to the upcoming season and continuing to play in the NFL," Owens added.
Owens caught more touchdown passes than any other NFL receiver over the last three years and was a big part of Tony Romo's emergence from an unknown backup to a starlet-dating Pro Bowl quarterback with a $67 million contract.
Yet the Cowboys went 0-2 in the playoffs with Owens, and didn't even make it last season. Dallas's late-season collapse - capped by a lackluster effort in a win-and-you're-in finale in Philadelphia - emphasized that a new approach was needed.
Dallas also released safety Roy Williams. Despite his reputation as a hard hitter, teams never hesitated throwing his way in recent years because he struggled in coverage. After Owens, Williams likely was the second divisive figure among Cowboys fans - especially after Dallas already got rid of Adam "Pacman" Jones and Tank Johnson.
"Roy has been a wonderful representative of this organization since coming to Dallas," Jones said. "Unfortunately, we have reached a crossroad with his time here in Dallas and the difficult decision was made to allow him to explore other opportunities in the NFL."
Cutting Owens and Williams will cost the Cowboys about $14 million against the salary cap.