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When Former QB Talks, You Should Listen

or two players, that becomes a problem." 

  Now pray tell, who might Aikman be talking about? 

  Still don't get it? Well here, Aikman takes out the hammer on this one, when asked if exiling Owens will also have an affect on offensive coordinator Jason Garrett's job. 

  "I think probably a little bit like what it does with Tony," Aikman, said, warming to the subject. "I played with a guy who wanted the ball on every play as well in Michael Irvin, but there was never a confrontation between he and I on why he wasn't getting the ball and he didn't always get a lot of balls in his direction.  

  He understood why it wasn't happening and I certainly never had to read about any of it in the papers or he wasn't constantly asked by the media hoping that they could get a sensational sound bite that would run on the evening news that night." 

  Now then, get ready, here it really comes. This is the crux of why Aikman believes the Cowboys parted ways with Owens, and it has nothing to do with the guy being a declining player at age 35 or that the Cowboys were trying to make Romo happy or that the absence of T.O. instantly makes the Cowboys better. None of that foolishness. To Aikman, it's this, and believe me, he experienced a whole lot during his career if you figure he went through four head coaches in his 12-year career - one he didn't see eye to eye with much - roster instability the latter half and off-the-field turmoil the majority of the time. 

  "So I think there's just a lot of drama that gets taken out of the equation," Aikman said of releasing Owens. "There're frustrations within every locker room, but that's where it should stay. And I think how some of those things were handled presented a problem. And hopefully whether it's Jason Garrett, Tony Romo, Jason Witten or any of the other players, that they're just able to go play and recognize that from week to week we're going to do what gives us the best chance to win." 

  And next comes not something he just concocted for the moment, but what happened to be the heart of his Hall of Fame induction speech, realizing that he arrived in Canton not on the wings of some sparkling stats but rather because he just happened to be the quarterback of a highly successful team, the Cowboys becoming the first franchise to win three Super Bowls in a span of four years. 

  He even admitted as much that day. 

  "I've always believed that if you win, that should be good enough," Aikman said. "My career was based on that, and so I really don't have a lot of great things to say about anybody who comes out and vocalizes their displeasure because they're not getting more passes or more throws or more carries. 

  "To me that's not what this game is about." 

  Imagine that, and why Owens still can't understand why he's no longer here, still wanting to blame someone else for Jones making the financially illogical move of releasing him after handing out that $12.9 million signing bonus and nearly another $1 million in base salary as part of his three-year extension last year, essentially totaling almost $14 million for one season's work. 

  Calculate how much sense that makes. After all, when it comes to dollars and sense, that means Owens was paid the equivalent of $202,898.55 for each of last season's 69 catches or, and get this, $1.4 million per touchdown. Sobering, and that right there should tell you the royal pain he had become and likely would have continued to be. Come on, that's real dough there. 

  Now then, for those still bellyaching over the Cowboys sending Owens on his way, and that includes some of the players around here claiming to be mystified, the answer why stares you right in the face if you're not opposed to buying into floating perceptions - if you are willing to listen to someone who once was there and knows better. 

  Oh, one last thing, especially aimed at those claiming now all the pressure is on Romo, all assuming he got his way with this release, that he must have this spectacular season so, well, I guess the Cowboys can at least go 9-7 without Owens. Aikman leaves you with this truth that should have been

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