Did Terrell Owens Attempt Suicide?

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The Dallas Cowboys' wide receiver Terrell Owens sure didn't look like a guy who had popped a bottle of pain pills, passed out and had his stomach pumped. At a press conference Wednesday at the team's Valley Ranch training camp, Owens admitted he was a bit vague about details of what happened Tuesday night at his downtown Dallas loft, but cut off talk about his mental state. "There was no suicide attempt," he said, a thin smile showing. "The rumor of me taking 35 pills is absurd."

In the locker room, his teammate Brady James was already making light of the incident and noted that Owens was out running routes in the afternoon heat. "We're gonna have fun with it," James said. "He prides himself on taking care of his body. Lucky he wasn't in his hyperbaric chamber." Owens is a big fan of the chambers for healing sore and injured muscles; he's even flown a portable unit to away games.

Owens, for his part, admits he doesn't remember too much of what happened. He was at his loft apartment around 5 p.m. Tuesday, took some pain pills — 2 or 3 is all he remembers — then had therapy. Last he remembers, he was on the table. He doesn't remember his therapist leaving. It's all "very vague," he says. Owens' longtime spokeswoman, Kim Etheredge, was concerned enough to call the paramedics. All she knew was that Owens' bottle of pain pills — reportedly generic vicodin — was empty; he says he had sorted out the pills and put the extra in a drawer.

Both Owens and Etheredge deny he was depressed. "I don't think I'd be here if I took 35 pills," he told reporters. As for Etheredge telling paramedics that he was "depressed"? Didn't happen, she told reporters. And Owens telling the paramedics he had tried to harm himself? Well, he said, "I wasn't as coherent as they thought I was." He denied reports that he had had his stomach pumped. "Terrell has 25 million reasons to be alive," said Etheredge, referring to his Cowboys' paycheck.

So what did happen? We're sure the mystery will deepen as the sport channels try to wring news out of it; they were already digging up players on other teams who said Owens had been depressed in years past, although he says it's not true. At his daily press conference, Cowboys coach Bill Parcells stated that he had not talked to Owens. "I'm not sure I know the whole thing," the coach said. He was, however, adamant that the coaching staff was not involved in pain medication. Pressed for more information, he said, "When I find out what the hell is going on, you will know. Until then, I'm not getting interrogated for no reason."

Pills, supplements and hyperbaric chambers? It's all part of the modern-day medicine cabinet for wounded athletes. During an appearance on MTV Cribs three years ago, Owens was agog over the healing benefits of the chambers, which basically pump a high concentration of oxygen into patients under deep-sea pressures. The pure oxygen flows into the bloodstream, helping with wounds that might otherwise be difficult or impossible to heal, says Dr. Jeff Stone, medical director at the Hyperbaric Medicine Unit at Presbyterian Hospital's Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine in Dallas. The chambers have helped diabetics, cancer victims and people suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning. And sports? "It's a very interesting field, but we need research before the efficacy is known," Stone said. He's never had Owens, or any athletes for that matter, try his unit out.

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