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Is the TO bomb ticking again?

Oct 1, 2008, 1:14 PM EDT

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Just when I thought it was safe to give Terrell Owens a pat on the back, he puts a knife in the back of his team.

I received some heat last week after I proclaimed that TO had grown up some and that the chances of him causing a disruption on the Cowboys were very slim.

Then he takes the podium after Dallas’ loss to the Washington Redskins and proceeds to whine and moan about not being the target of a sufficient number of passes. This griping came despite the fact that Owens was the target of some 20 of Tony Romo’s 47 pass attempts.

Clearly, the incident has moved the TO Blowup Alert Meter from green into the yellow area. Whether or not it continues to rise is dependent on one man. No, it’s not head coach Wade Phillips. He’s as much a spectator in this as you and I are even though his job security depends on having TO around this January.

No, the man who can defuse the situation is Jerry Jones. At some point, should the situation escalate, Jones will pull TO aside and have a little chat with him to try to get him back in line.

That tactic may or may not be effective. Owens already has pocketed a signing bonus of nearly $13 million and new labor rules make most of that money very hard to touch. He does care about winning to an extent but money and attention are much more important to him. The money is in the bank and if he’s not getting the ball enough for his liking he knows he can get plenty of attention off the field.

Still, if I had to bet, I’d go with Jones being able to get him back into line. The total value of his deal is $34 million and it’s somewhat backloaded. That should be enough of a carrot to get him to shut up.

But I’m not as certain about that as I was a week ago.

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