If you believe Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, the sometimes disruptive behavior and outspoken nature of Terrell Owens was not a part of why the decision was made to release him on Thursday.
Jones told me today during a one-on-one interview for NFL Network that T.O. did “everything I asked.” He also told me this about Owens: He’s a “natural leader” who “walks the talk” and is a “dedicated, hard worker.”
I’m quoting him here -– these are Jones’ words. Not mine.
So why is Owens no longer a Cowboy?
Jones said there wasn’t anything wrong with Owens, but rather it was a “strategic decision” for the Cowboys. Jones said he factored in a number of things –- the salary cap, the age of the roster and the other receivers on the roster –- when making the decision. Those were his main factors.
I found this interesting -– Jones noted that giving a chance for Roy Williams to be the Cowboys’ top receiver was a “significant factor” in his decision. That makes one wonder if it’s reasonable to believe that Jones could envision this scenario playing out when he traded for Williams during the season. Williams was underwhelming in 10 games for the Cowboys, finishing with 19 receptions for 198 yards and one touchdown.
Jones met face-to-face Wednesday night with Owens in the Miami area. Once Jones made the decision, he wanted to tell Owens as soon as possible. Jones said Owens was “surprised and disappointed” with the decision, but he didn’t show any anger. I asked if Tony Romo and Jason Witten had any input while Jones was considering making the move. His response: “None.”
I also asked Jones if anyone tried to talk him out of the decision. He said no one did.
I felt like Jones literally made this decision sometime this week, if not just today. But it’s also my sense he has been deliberating this for a long time — maybe even at the end of last season. I know he sought out many people, including some outside the organization.
In an interesting twist at the end of the interview, Jones told me that if T.O. had a resume, he should be his top reference, and if any owner or general manger wants to call Jones to ask about the positive contributions that Owens made in Dallas, he would be happy to field that call.
Jones has told me many times that he wants another Super Bowl championship. Owens has told me he wants to win his first. From this point on, they won’t be doing it together.
I’m hoping to speak with T.O. and/or his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, soon.