IRVING, Texas (Dec. 28, 2006) -- Terrell Owens doesn't believe he was being called out by teammate Terence Newman as a player who needs to quit talking and start playing.
"He wasn't talking to me," Owens said, responding to comments cornerback Newman made about unspecified players. "He talked to me after practice; he wasn't talking to me. So I'm not worried about that. Even if he was, I'm still not worried about it."
The Dallas Cowboys (9-6) may be guaranteed a playoff spot, but all is not well at Valley Ranch after consecutive home losses in high-profile games. They missed a chance to clinch their first NFC East title since 1998 -- and lost their control of the division with one game left -- with a 23-7 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Owens had his NFL-best 12th touchdown receiving for the only score against Philadelphia. But he had only two catches, and openly complained after the game about his lack of involvement in the Dallas offense.
"It was from the heart. There's nothing really to regret about that," Owens said of his postgame comments. "I'm not the only person that has expressed themselves about the disappointment of a loss. ... It's just magnified because I say things and I'm a competitive person and I don't like to lose. I know I'm very valuable to this team, and when I don't make plays it's magnified."
Owens has 79 catches for 1,063 yards, but also has an NFL-high 14 dropped passes -- of 144 passes thrown his way. In the third quarter against the Eagles, Owens let an almost perfectly thrown deep ball by Tony Romo go through his hands on what would have been a gain of at least 50 yards.
Newman sent a public message Dec. 27 that everyone needs to be accountable, though he declined to say who specifically he was talking about.
"People need to just start playing and stop talking so much," Newman said. "It's a show-me league and talking is not going to do anything."
Owens said Newman came up to him after practice Dec. 28, and the cornerback told him he wasn't talking specifically about T.O.
"Obviously, he said it was a message for the whole team, but that wasn't directed toward me," Owens said.
Dallas closes the regular season Dec. 31 at home against Detroit. The Cowboys began December with a chance to get a first-round bye as the NFC's No. 2 overall seed, but New Orleans -- a 42-17 winner at Texas Stadium earlier this month -- clinched that when the Cowboys lost to Philadelphia.
The only way Dallas can win the division title is to win or tie against the Lions, combined with a Philadelphia loss at home against Atlanta.
Owens said he hasn't played as well as he should have, and insists he's not looking for any excuses. He broke his right hand in the second game, then has played the last month with a detached tendon in the ring finger of the same hand that will require surgery after the season -- the latter not made public until some comments by Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.
"You guys would have never known, so I'm not going to make an excuse about my finger. My finger's jacked up, that's just the nature of it," he said. "It is what it is. If I was going to make an excuse, I would have had the surgery, then I wouldn't be sitting here talking about this."
Owens said the pain is constant, and can be "very excruciating" depending on how the ball hits his hand.
That may have something to do with the dropped balls, but Owens believes he's being treated differently than other players who play through pain.
"If it was anybody else gutting it out with the way my hand is, I'm guaranteeing you that they would be probably be saying that he's a warrior, he's sucking it up for the team," Owens said. "But just because it's me, that's not going to be the case. I understand that. Is it fair? No. But you know what, I have to live with that."