Owens: `No suicide attempt'

Cowboys receiver unresponsive before friend called 911

September 28, 2006|By Bill Ordine | Bill Ordine,Sun Reporter

Just when you figured that the Terrell Owens story line had mined every possible plot twist imaginable, the Dallas Cowboys wide receiver managed to find himself in yet another riveting drama yesterday.

Despite a police report that contended Owens' Tuesday night medical emergency involving prescription painkillers was due to a suicide attempt, the player said at a news conference yesterday that he had merely suffered a bad reaction to medication he has been taking as he mends from a broken hand.

He was sorry for all the trouble, he said, and he's happily looking forward to playing in Sunday's game against the Tennessee Titans.

"There was no suicide attempt," said Owens, who was injured in the Cowboys' Week 2 win over the Washington Redskins. "I went home yesterday after I left the [Cowboys'] facility, I took a couple of pain pills and then I had some treatment. I had a physician over to treat my hand. I think after that, I was groggy a little bit and I took some extra pills with my [nutritional] supplements."

Owens said that he's taking hydrocodone, a generic form of Vicodin, for pain to his injured hand. He also takes many all-natural supplements, he said.

The most recent furor began roiling when the player's publicist, Kim Etheredge, placed a 911 call a little before 8 p.m. CDT Tuesday because, she said, he was unresponsive as they sat together. Owens said that Etheredge noticed the remaining pain medication pills - about 30 of a prescription that was originally for 35 to 40 - were missing from a bottle. Owens said he had placed the remaining pills in a drawer, which Etheredge apparently didn't know.

A Dallas police report stated Owens, who was taken to Baylor Hospital, had attempted suicide and that Etheredge reported that Owens said he was depressed, and that she attempted to retrieve two pills from his mouth.

The report went on to say that Owens responded "yes" when asked if he had taken the remainder of the contents of the pill bottle and whether he was attempting to harm himself.

Yesterday, Owens made a point to thank fire, police and medical personnel for aiding him. But he said that he did not recall responding in the fashion the police report described.

"I really wasn't as coherent as they thought I was," he said.

"I was more or less out of it," he added later. "I can barely remember the doctors, much less the police officers who were asking me questions."

Etheredge denied that she told anyone that Owens was depressed and said he was too disoriented to give appropriate answers. Owens and Etheredge also refuted reports that Owens' stomach was pumped.

"Terrell was not coherent to speak. The reason I called 911 is because he was not in his normal responsive state," Etheredge said. "He had had a long day, he came home, he had some treatment, and again, he takes many supplements, he's trying to get back on the field.

"He's taking a couple of extra supplements than he normally does and he has some pain medication and actually he was in a lot of pain when he came back from work."

Etheredge also said she did not try to take anything out of his mouth.

"Terrell has 25 million reasons why he should be alive," Etheredge said, apparently referring to his three-year, $25 million contract with the Cowboys.

Earlier in the day, the official Dallas police response was to neither confirm nor deny contents of the narrative report. Before attending the news conference, Owens said he caught passes from Cowboys quarterbacks Drew Bledsoe and Tony Romo.

"I'm not depressed by any means. I'm very happy to be here," Owens said. "I came here to help this team get on a roll, get on track to the playoffs and win some ballgames."

Earlier in the day, Cowboys coach Bill Parcells said he was mostly ignorant of his receiver's situation and said he needed more information before considering Owens' playing status.

Owens and Etheredge likened the player's scare Tuesday night to an allergic reaction to the medication.

Bruce Anderson, director of the Maryland Poison Center at the University of Maryland in Baltimore, said an adverse reaction, like that suffered by Owens, to hydrocodone is certainly possible.

"It's a potent pain medicine, so it can cause confusion," Anderson said. "It doesn't sound outside the realm of possibility that someone would take a medication like hydrocodone and not have full command of their abilities."

The normal adult dosage, Anderson said, would be one or two pills every four to six hours.

Owens' well-chronicled soap opera career has been filled with spectacular plays, a heroic comeback from a broken ankle to play in the Super Bowl in February 2005 as well as acrimonious relationships with coaches and teammates in San Francisco and Philadelphia.

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