What Now, My Cowboys?

as we want to see him on the field, everyone in this room knows what it's like to deal with Bill on an injury. So he's getting some slack for that." 

Here's the best summation we can offer: Jones isn't worried. Parcells is irritated, but no more so than he is about Mike Vanderjagt. Players understand it's Owens' nature to be separate, and while they may not be in love with it, they understand what he can do to help them win, so they're tolerating it. 

And the media is pushing this stick in Parcells' eye. Understand this: Consciously or not, many media, local and national, want a confrontation between Owens and Parcells. They want it because it makes a delicious, provocative, explosive story and it's what columnists, talk-show hosts and bloggers do. In the name of the story, they will do everything they can to provoke a confrontation. Whether Owens has the wherewithal to avoid participating is somewhat in doubt. But Parcells does, and here's betting he will, for quite awhile anyway. But don't expect the media to stop pushing the story. That won't happen. 

What's Up With The Kickers? Mike Vanderjagt should be buying Owens' dinner and washing his car, because the media's fascination with Owens has allowed the multi-million dollar kicker who can't kick to fly under the radar. It's beginning to appear his injuries are at least as bad as Owens', and while Parcells may be impatient with a receiver with proven skills, you can bet he's around the bend about a kicker who he can't watch and who may be forcing him to keep a kickoff specialist, which Parcells enjoys almost as much as Jerry Jones enjoyed his recent root canal. 

Completely ignored throughout all this has been Shaun Suisham, who has looked like a different kicker from a year ago. Suisham now looks like a guy you might not want to cut. Except: Parcells is growing a fascination for free-agent Tyler Frederickson, who he said Thursday will handle much of the punting against the 49ers Saturday night. Why? Because Parcells wants to know if he has an option of keeping Frederickson to punt and kick off, which would allow him to keep just three specialists (with long snapper L.P. Ladouceur) instead of four. This would force punter Mat McBriar out. It's a scenario which Parcells is actively considering. 

What's Up With Bill? Perhaps the greatest misconception around Camp Cowboy is that it's a slam dunk Parcells has one eye on the horizon. Might he stop coaching after this season? Of course. He just turned 65. He still has to manage his health, but burns the work candle at both ends. Here's what not many people are telling you: Parcells is having a blast. He likes his team and he loves coaching. He is coaching, and coaching is him. A 4-12 season, or a Super Bowl title, might send Big Bill to the racetrack and ball park full time. But if you don't think there's any way Parcells comes back for a fifth year in Dallas, you're not paying enough attention to Big Bill. 

This Is An Ender: When the 49ers trot onto the Texas Stadium field Saturday night, Larry Allen will look funny in San Fran red. But he won't be wearing his familiar Cowboys No. 73. Allen is now wearing 71, and it's a tribute to his former teammate, the late Mark Tuinei. After he signed with the Niners, Allen called Tuinei's wife Pono to ask (and was granted) permission to wear Tui's number.                   

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