DALLAS (September 27, 2006) — Flamboyant Dallas Cowboys receiver Terrell Owens denied a police report he attempted suicide, saying he became groggy after mixing painkillers with supplements.
He said Wednesday the confusion likely stemmed from an empty bottle of pain medication found by his publicist, who was with him at the time and called 911. He said the rest of the pills were in a drawer.
“I was non-responsive when she made that call,” Owens said. “She made the call out of her judgment for my well-being.”
Appearing in a news conference at team headquarters a few hours after leaving a hospital for what a police report described as “a drug overdose,” Owens wore workout gear and no bandage on his broken right hand. The star receiver smiled and seemed more amused than peeved at the latest ruckus surrounding him.
Owens blamed a combination of hydrocodone, a generic form of Vicodin, with all-natural supplements for making him ill.
“It’s very unfortunate for it to go from an allergic reaction to a suicide attempt,” he said.
Owens was released from the hospital before noon. He flashed a thumbs-up to reporters as he left, went home, then made it to team headquarters in time to catch passes from quarterback Drew Bledsoe.
Rescue workers arrived at Owens’ home around 8 p.m. Tuesday and took him to an emergency room. When word spread, publicist Kim Etheredge said it was an allergic reaction.
But the story shifted Wednesday morning when several media outlets received a police report — that had yet to be released by the authorities — saying Owens had attempted suicide by overdosing on the painkillers, even putting two more pills into his mouth after an unidentified friend, later identified as Etheredge, intervened.
The police document, first reported by WFAA-TV, said Owens was asked by rescue workers “if he was attempting to harm himself, at which time (he) stated: ‘Yes.”’
When officially released by police, about half the document was blacked out, including the phrases “attempting suicide by prescription pain medication” and “a drug overdose,” as well as the details of Owens having two pills pried from his mouth and Owens saying “Yes” when asked if he intended to harm himself.
“I wasn’t coherent as they probably thought I was,” Owens said. “A number of people were asking me questions. I don’t remember the police officers that were in there or the doctors that were in there.”
Owens said he feels capable of playing Sunday in Tennessee, despite this incident and his broken hand. He added that he’s “not depressed about anything” and that he expects to practice Thursday.
Etheredge also appeared at Owens’ news conference, saying she “did not take anything out of his mouth.”
“This is sad,” she said. “Terrell had a reaction to different pills, and just to state he was trying to commit suicide it was unfair.”
“Terrell has 25 million reasons why he should be alive,” she added, referring to the $25 million, three-year contract he signed in March with the Cowboys.
“I’m just upset,” Etheredge added. “I feel they take advantage of Terrell. Had this been someone else, this may not have happened.”
Dallas police officials declined to comment on Etheredge’s denials. “We can’t discuss the police report because of privacy laws,” said a spokesman, Sgt. Gil Cerda.