Slipping Out Of Predicament

that's why he was "encouraged" to get back out there.

"He probably would have (still) put that pressure on me," Witten said of Parcells subtly urging him to practice even now that's he's in his fourth season. "But I would have put that pressure on myself."

Which speaks to this wrestling match Bill must be internally waging: How can he demand Player X to practice with a minor bruise when Player Y over there, who is nursing that hamstring, is not - at least publicly - equally prodded?

A skinny tightrope act there.

Not saying this has been brewing, but Parcells did not seem happy on Monday his guy, Terry Glenn, was not practicing. Glenn has been nursing a bad blister on the bottom of one of his big toes. He was held out of a couple of workouts last week, but did play a series or two Saturday in Seattle, though he was seen afterward sitting on the bench with an ice bag on his foot.

"Like last year, I've been compensating," Glenn said to run with the blistered toe, "and putting pressure on the side of my foot."

His foot has grown sore, just like last year, he said, and he doesn't want to acerbate the problem by continuing to alter his running stride just to practice.

Now Glenn didn't say this, and don't know that he's even thinking this way. But can't you imagine Glenn, a very proud 11th-year veteran himself with NFL skins on the wall, saying to himself, hey, if that guy doesn't have to practice with the sore hamstring he seems to be running well on after practice, why should I?

Who's to say Adams, a two-time Pro Bowler himself, doesn't then ask for a day off to give his rehabilitated knee a rest instead of working on the third team, as he did Tuesday morning, to take fewer reps?

Suddenly, you have anarchy.

Bill knows, he's been around the block a time or three, and it's probably a good thing Keyshawn Johnson isn't here right now. Because I could only imagine what he would have to say, not necessarily publicly, but behind closed doors. Keyshawn had a way of always speaking his mind, somehow.

But he's not here, and maybe this is a prime reason why.

So far, though, Parcells seems to be winning his wrestling matches. He has pinned his tongue.

The other day he simply said, "I don't know that player very well, so I have to give him the benefit of the doubt right now. I can just look over at Terry Glenn, and I can tell what he is feeling like. I haven't been around this player. I don't want to jeopardize him for the season.

"But at some time, he's going to have to practice and play like everybody else."

Owens says he knows that, saying Monday after practice, "I know he wants me out there on the football field. And I told him, 'Bill, I want to be out there just as bad as you want me out there.' It's just a situation where we all have to be patient with one another."

Parcells also seems to have slipped a half-Nelson on the integrity issue in the other match. Guys still seem to be responding to him. My guess is, Glenn will be back soon. Boiman already is out there, and so is Marcus Spears, and he's no more than two weeks removed from arthroscopic knee surgery. And guarantee Bobby Carpenter won't be out much longer with his bruised foot.

As for Patrick Crayton, he's lumbering around in a knee-high walking boot to protect his high ankle sprain, yet when asked how painful it is to ride the stationary bike and watch your teammates practice, he said, "You have no idea."

Another good sign.

So Parcells seems to be grappling well with this tag-team opponent.

Funny, the first week in camp, Parcells came out early for an afternoon practice, probably to size up those multiplying snapping alligators, and saw me working away under our tent on the tennis courts. Just typing away in the gorgeous sunshine and 75-degree weather nudged by a daily gentle breeze. He flashed one of those you-got-it-made smiles.

"You want to trade jobs?" he jabbed.

"If we trade salaries," I said.

Parcells flashed one of those if-you-only-knew looks that only he can.

Now, come to think of it, glad this here alligator is snapping at him, not me.

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