Terrell Owens acknowledged yesterday that he had missed a random drug test several weeks ago, blaming it on a "communication problem involving cell phone numbers."

The wide receiver also said he was in New York last week talking about his absence with league officials the day he agreed to a new $34 million contract with the Dallas Cowboys.

Owens was not suspended or fined, but ESPN.com reported that Owens could now face up to 24 tests a year as part of the league's "reasonable cause" testing program for performance-enhancing drugs.

"It was openly discussed and cleared up in a meeting that I had at the NFL office last week," Owens told the Associated Press. "I have been in the NFL for over 12 years and have never had a positive test for substances of any kind. That includes tests that took place as recently as last month.

According to ESPN.com, the phone number Owens gave testers as his primary contact belonged to his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, and an alternative phone number was answered by a voice mailbox that was full.

Bears. Chicago waived running back Cedric Benson after his second alcohol-related arrest in a month, ending a rocky three-season tenure with the team.

Benson's relationship with the Bears took a turn for the worse when he was arrested on a drunken-driving charge early Saturday in Austin, Texas, after failing a field sobriety test, police said. The former first-round draft pick was released on bond.

He also was arrested May 5 and charged with boating while intoxicated and resisting arrest on a lake near Austin.

Both cases are pending.

Wide receiver Marcus Robinson retired as a member of the Bears, the team with which he enjoyed the most success. Robinson also played for the Baltimore Ravens, Minnesota Vikings and Detroit Lions in his 11-year NFL career.

Bills. After getting little out of a meeting with Marshawn Lynch's attorney, Buffalo prosecutors are turning their attention to the passengers who were in the running back's vehicle during a hit-and-run accident.

Erie County District Attorney Frank Clark did not rule out impaneling a grand jury to compel the passengers to testify as to who was driving Lynch's 2008 Porsche SUV early on May 31 when it sped off after it struck and injured a pedestrian.

Titans. Tennessee linebacker Ryan Fowler is under investigation by the NFL in connection with an apparent steroid case, Fowler's attorney, Peter Ginsberg, said.

The lawyer said he assumed the investigation stems from the death last week of David Jacobs, a convicted steroid dealer who said he had sold drugs to pro football players. Police in Plano, Texas, said Jacobs killed himself.

An NFL spokesman declined to comment.

Jurisprudence. A Virginia prosecutor said the state trials of Michael Vick and three codefendants on dogfighting charges would be delayed until they are freed from federal prison.

Commonwealth's Attorney Gerald Poindexter said it was not worth the expense for Surry County to transport the men from prisons in different states for trial and escort them back later.

Vick and the other defendants face charges of beating or killing dogs, causing dogs to fight other dogs, and engaging in or promoting dogfighting.

The former Atlanta Falcons quarterback is serving a 23-month prison sentence after pleading guilty to federal charges in a dogfighting operation. The others received sentences of up to 21 months in prison.

Noteworthy. Former star quarterback Ken Stabler, 62, was arrested Sunday and charged with reckless driving and driving under the influence of alcohol.

Stabler, a radio analyst for Alabama's football team, was released from jail on $1,000 bond nearly 13 hours after his arrest, police in Robertsdale, Ala., said.