St. Augustine, Fla. - To no one's surprise, the Philadelphia Eagles are treating the possible return of injured wide receiver Terrell Owens as a day-to-day decision. Whether or not the Eagles' star player plays in Sunday's Super Bowl against the Patriots will likely be decided later in the week as he continues to add to his daily practice regimen.
Philadelphia head coach Andy Reid said Sunday during his first press conference of Super Bowl week that Owens will work some in practice again on Monday, but there is no definitive timetable on his return.
"We'll see," Reid said. "T.O. is going to try and do a couple of things tomorrow. We'll take it day-by-day. There is no time frame."
Reid was asked about Owens' participation in practice last week, acknowledging his progress from a Dec. 19 surgery to repair a severely injured right ankle. Owens was able to run and cut during practices at the Eagles' NovaCare Complex, roughly six weeks after sustaining the injury.
"I mentioned that, that he was going to start running and progress through the week, and he did that," Reid said. "He felt pretty good doing it. We'll have to see. He's not there yet. We'll have to see how he does this week."
Many of the Eagles have been inundated with questions regarding Owens' status during his rehabilitation from the injury, which has intensified since late last week when he told ESPN he would play against the Patriots. Owens led the Eagles with 77 receptions for 1,200 yards and a franchise-record 14 touchdowns despite missing the final two games of the season following the injury.
Philadelphia safety Brian Dawkins was optimistic when asked about his expectations for Owens.
"I expect him to practice and run some good routes, catch some tough balls, and get up the field and finish like he always does," he said. "You know what? Like I've always said about T.O.: He's a warrior man. He's going to do whatever it takes to get himself prepared to play. It's not just some type of a role to put him in as a decoy. If he plays, he's going to play. And we'll welcome that."
Flack Over Freddie
While the reaction to the comments made by Philadelphia wide receiver Freddie Mitchell have made their rounds through the media and into the Patriots locker room late last week, the feedback on both sides has been considerably different. Mitchell, the Eagles fourth-year receiver, initiated a war of words with the Patriots defense Thursday night in a segment that aired on ESPN. The comments didn't sit well with safety Rodney Harrison, among others, in the Patriots locker room.
Reid was asked Sunday if he had spoken with Mitchell, responding "I haven't gotten a hold of him yet."
And when he does?
"Well, that's between Freddie and I," said Reid.
While the Patriots are clearly agitated about the comments, the Eagles appear to be taking the ruckus in stride. Dawkins indicated the one-time incident wasn't an issue inside the Philadelphia locker room.
"If it's something that's an ongoing thing, like every day there's something going on, then it's something that really and truly needs to be discussed and talked about," Dawkins said. "I actually saw the comments that he made. You can't read too far into it, because I know what he's trying to say in that situation. But he needs to understand that it's never going to be presented to the person in the context that it was said. He said it in one context, but it's always going to be represented in a different way once it gets to the other player. It's not something I'm going to worry about."
Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb, who knows Harrison well, said he smiled and laughed when he originally heard the comments, noting the Eagles weren't in any position to be offering up bulletin board material for the Patriots.
"That's Freddie Mitchell for you," McNabb said. "For those of you who don't know him, you know him now. Sometimes he makes comments that people don't understand. But one thing you have to understand is that [he] didn't mean anything by them. It's nothing to try to motivate or put bulletin board material for the New England Patriots. We don't get caught up in that. If you go through the past couple of years, we've never been involved in that."
Westbrook Named To Pro Bowl
Eagles running back Brian Westbrook was added to the NFC Pro Bowl roster Sunday when Washington's Clinton Portis and Seattle's Shaun Alexander bowed out of the Feb. 6th game due to injuries. Westbrook, who was originally a second alternate, finished fourth in the NFC with 1,515 total yards from scrimmage this season, gaining a career-high 812 yards rushing while leading all NFL running backs with 703 receiving yards.
"It's well deserved," McNabb said. "He should have been the guy selected from the very beginning. I told him I was going to fly him out so he could get the chance to get a feel for being in Hawaii at the Pro Bowl. Now I don't have to fly him out, I can save my money. I'm excited to see that finally he gets rewarded for the things that he's able to do."
Both the Eagles and the Patriots will hold media sessions Monday at Prime Osborn Convention Center. Reid and selected Eagles players will meet with the press beginning at 1:30 p.m., while Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and selected players are scheduled to be available at 3:30 p.m.
Quick HitsReid held the Eagles first press conferences of the week Sunday at the Marriott Sawgrass Hotel, the team's headquarters during the Super Bowl. He met with the press from 6:30 p.m. to approximately 6:45 p.m., followed by a media access period with McNabb, Westbrook, safety Brian Dawkins, defensive end Jevon Kearse, cornerback Lito Sheppard and linebacker Jeremiah Trotter. ... Reid was non-committal on whether the Eagles would use Westbrook as a punt returner, saying "we haven't really talked about that too much. It's a possibility." Westbrook ranked second in the NFL in punt return average (15.3) in 2003, accounting for 306 return yards and two touchdowns, but was rarely used in the role this season. ... While criticism exists over the selection of Jacksonville as the host Super Bowl City, Reid doesn't have any problems with the selection. "I've always liked Jacksonville, with the exception of when we've had to play games down here against a pretty good football team. I think it's a great location."