Jones A Strait Talker Except On Owens

equation. The only thing that's going to take the disappointment away is to win ball games. That's what we're going to try to do."

But I know, just like us guys, you guys want to know about Terrell Owens. Is he staying or is he going?

Again, Jones isn't saying, although before the press conference was over, he did kind of cryptically answer the question, leaving himself open for interpretation, which he has been dearly trying to avoid on this subject.

So for starters Jones, when asked about if it's one of the tougher decisions he's had, deciding what to do with Owens, said, "I don't know that it's any tougher than decisions we've made, that I've made over the years . . . no tougher. There are several decisions on our roster that you look at, that you have to. This is the time of year you do that, and I'm not trying to be trite, but as you all know we're evaluating players in college, we're evaluating (free agents) and we're evaluating our own roster. This is an ongoing thing. Not any different than this time last year. Not one bit different."

Ah, but it was pointed out last year he signed Owens to an extension, adding three years to the final year of his contract and handing him $13 million in guaranteed funds.

"That's what I'm saying, this is not one bit different . . . not one bit different," Jones said.

Ah-ha, and this is why it's wise for Jones not to address this subject, leaving himself open for interpretation because the next question was, so you are acknowledging you do have a decision to make?

"No I'm not, no I'm not at all," Jones said. "I'm just saying we're not, I'm not talking about what we're doing with our roster, and you guys got the roster and know the people on the roster and so I don't have to go into that. Our roster is our roster, and changes to that are pure speculation and have been."

And then came maybe his first salty response, Jones bringing this up on his very own, knowing there have been reports out there about how he's invited players to his house to discuss the viability of keeping Owens.

"And by the way," Jones said without provocation, "I would like to have seen anybody who has come over to my house to visit about our roster - another player. That hasn't happened - haven't been near my house to visit about another player on the roster. I heard that speculated, that I've had people come over - players come over and talk about it. That just hasn't happened."

Well now.

But the sparring didn't end there, and by the way, Jones did say he has not spoken with Owens' agent Drew Rosenhaus about anything this off-season pertaining to his client's continued employment out here. But before the session was completed, Jones alluded one more time to Owens, without even mentioning his name, maybe adopting the Bill Parcells philosophy of not using his name when referencing the wide receiver.

"So that's what we're trying to do here, kind of manage that," Jones said when talking about how frustrated and mad everyone seems to be with what happened last year. "It has nothing to do with the information. You'll get every bit of the information that you should have. You and I both know that the one you are asking about all the time, if I have an answer for . . . if I gave you the answer you want to hear, then you would already have had it, so the fact you don't have it ought to tell you something. Or it should."

Cryptic?

Open for interpretation?

Well, I got two. He either means no decision has been made on Terrell Owens, or that since nothing has been announced there is no decision to be made. Because after all, if you keep the guy, and you say you're keeping him, then it sounds as if you had to make a decision, which would basically sanction all the speculation that doing so was highly debatable.

And if it is harmony you seek, then admitting as much likely would strike a wrong chord to start a new season.

So there, Jerry said a lot, trying the best he can to get you, uh sorry, can't help myself, Strait.

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