IRVING, Texas -- Terrell Owens vividly recalls the fans chanting his name and the cheers he used to hear in Philadelphia -- the ones he feels drove a wedge between himself and Donovan McNabb.
Owens once thought he was going to have the kind of relationship with McNabb in Philadelphia that he has since developed with Tony Romo in Dallas. The pair are good friends and the NFL's top-scoring quarterback-receiver tandem with 26 touchdowns since 2006.
"The fans and just the excitement of me coming there and being there, it became too overwhelming for Donovan," Owens said Thursday. "I think at one point in time, I will say that we had a good relationship. I think I got too big for Philly, too big for him. I just feel like in a sense that he felt like I was just probably getting too much attention."
The Eagles kicked Owens off their team during the 2005 season -- a year after they went to the Super Bowl -- after a series of infractions, including repeated criticism of McNabb and the organization.
"I feel strong about my position and what happened in Philly, and I really don't feel like it was my fault," Owens said.
Dallas' home opener against Philadelphia on Monday night will be the fifth time Owens faces the Eagles.
Each time the NFC East rivals are getting ready to play, it seems to revive the history between T.O. and McNabb, at least from the receiver's perspective.
On a conference call with Cowboys media Thursday, McNabb did his best to avoid the subject of their relationship.
"We had great times here. ... It's unfortunate the way things ended up," McNabb said. "But he's happy where he's at and I'm happy where I'm at."
Asked if Owens was a changed man, McNabb said he didn't know. "I'm just a guy on the outside looking in," he said.
Owens has had contact recently with former Eagles teammates Lito Sheppard, who "called and asked me for a few more tickets," and receiver Greg Lewis. But not McNabb.
"No, I haven't talked to Donovan," T.O. said. "It's been a while."
But at one point in Philadelphia, the relationship between T.O. and McNabb was so good that they used to get together at Owens' house to watch all the Monday Night Football games.
"He was the bartender or I was the bartender. We gave ourselves some alias names and we had a lot of fun," Owens said. "We had a lot of teammates come over and enjoy that. It was a situation where things didn't work out in Philly and now I'm here."
This time, they will be on opposite sides of a drama for everybody else to watch.
Eagles coach Andy Reid told Cowboys reporters Thursday that he was happy that things worked out for Owens, and wishes the receiver well even though they were in the same division.
"He still wishes I was there. Don't let him sell you those lines," Owens said, adding that he had a good relationship with the coach. "By far, Andy is one of the better coaches I have had. Only thing I didn't like was he didn't let me wear my tights. Other than that, we were good."
McNabb's best statistical season (3,875 passing yards and 31 touchdowns) came in 2004, when he was throwing passes to Owens and the Eagles made it to the Super Bowl, which Owens played in after coming back from a broken bone in his leg.
But Owens publicly demanded a new contract just one year into a seven-year, $48.97 million deal and feuded with McNabb.
Money hasn't been an issue for Owens in Dallas, where he initially got a $25 million, three-year deal. This would have been his final season under that original deal, but this summer the 34-year-old receiver got a three-year extension worth about $27 million through the 2011 season.
"I've always just wanted my market value," Owens said. "I think I've always kind of been underpaid -- up until now.
"Hey, I'm happy," Owens said before turning and giving an extended and exaggerated posed smile.
With the money and his quarterback in Dallas.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press