Terrell Owens can't stop talking about his days with the Dallas Cowboys - and Jerry Jones can't stop listening.
"I'm drawn to when he's featured on certain segments and I read carefully what's written," Jones said yesterday. "I'm interested."
Many Cowboys would prefer to let T.O. be out of sight and out of mind, relieved to no longer have to react to everything he says or does.
So why does Jones, the boss who dumped the disgruntled employee, remain fascinated?
"He's credible with me," Jones said. "That's what makes it interesting."
Players are cut all the time, even star players, and their bitterness toward the previous team usually goes away once the player settles in with a new team, as Owens has done with the Buffalo Bills.
But Owens keeps fanning the flames, often speculating that quarterback Tony Romo and offensive coordinator Jason Garrett pushed for his release. Just a few weeks ago - on May 19, more than 10 weeks after he was cut - Owens posted this unedited note by Twitter: "blame the OC & romo!! but i'm happy 2 b where i am but i miss the other guys tht were & r true teammates."
More barbs could be coming in Owens' upcoming reality TV show.
"I don't know that it's blowing off steam. He could, just like anybody else, [have] conjecture," Jones said. "And I'm not being critical of him. At all. I really am not. Like I said, I'm just interested in his comments."
Jones also shot down Owens' conspiracy theory.
"I know how the decision was made and the very people he's mentioning might not know because I had to ultimately put all the rationale that I had together and make the decision," Jones said. "All I'm saying is, if he or anybody else mention people, it could be news to them. That's not how the decision came about."
Since the release, Jones has made it clear that Owens was cut to help improve locker-room harmony. Yet the owner said yesterday, "I did not think [his personality] was disruptive to this team."
"I did not," Jones repeated. "As a matter of fact, you have a huge percentage of our team - coaches and otherwise - that thought his personality was a positive thing."
That comment came in response to a question about this saga dragging out.
"Terrell's got the personality that kind of keeps it going, too, and that's not a bad thing at all," Jones said.
Cowboys coach Wade Phillips said he also reads what is written about Owens.
"It goes on and on. It's best to just go forward," Phillips said. "We had a great relationship when Terrell was here and he did a lot of great things for us. It's going to be tough to replace him as far as I'm concerned."
* Cleveland Browns wide receiver Donté Stallworth is pleading not guilty to DUI manslaughter charges from a fatal Miami car crash in which a pedestrian died. The plea was entered at a brief court hearing in Miami by defense attorney Christopher Lyons.
Stallworth, 28, did not appear in court. A trial date has not been set. The former Eagle faces up to 15 years if convicted. Police say Stallworth was driving drunk after a night on the town when he struck and killed Mario Reyes, 59, on a Miami Beach causeway. Stallworth is free on $200,000 bail and is required to abstain from alcohol, not drive and observe a curfew.
* The NFL Players Association has reached a $26.25 million settlement with retired players who had successfully sued the union for cutting them out of lucrative marketing deals.
The settlement amount is close to the $28.1 million the NFLPA was ordered to pay after a federal jury ruled in favor of the players in November. The jury determined the union failed to include retired NFL players in deals with Electronic Arts Inc., the maker of the "Madden NFL" video game, and other companies.
* The Arizona Cardinals have signed two-time Pro Bowl safety Adrian Wilson to a new 5-year contract that runs through the 2013 season. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed.
* The Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans are close to announcing plans for instant-win games through the Texas Lottery. *