Police Say Terrell Owens Attempted Suicide

Dallas Cowboys star wide receiver Terrell Owens has been hospitalized after what Dallas Police officials say was an attempted suicide. Owens is considered one of the best athletes in the game, but is also known to frustrate coaches and teammates with his on-field boasting and off-field antics. Curt Menafee of Fox NFL Sunday talks with Mike Pesca about Owens' controversial career.

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MADELEINE BRAND, host:

From NPR News, this is DAY TO DAY.

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Terrell Owens was briefly hospitalized overnight. A Dallas police report says Owens tried to kill himself last night by taking an overdose of prescription painkillers. His publicist told the Dallas Morning News that Owens accidentally mixed medications.

MIKE PESCA, host:

Owens joined the Cowboys this season after being let go by the Philadelphia Eagles after he insulted his quarterback Donovan McNabb. Joining us now is Curt Menafee, halftime and post-game reporter for Fox NFL Sunday. Thanks for joining us, Curt.

And Terrell Owens, he's as talented an athlete as there is, but he's also -pick the adjective: flamboyant, controversial, a megalomaniac. That's the perception of him. Do you think that perception's fair?

Mr. CURT MENAFEE (Reporter, Fox NFL Sunday): I think it's fair. I think also you'd have to throw in troubled. And not just because of this reported suicide attempt, but just based on his background. You mentioned part of the incidents that, you know, became well documented with the Philadelphia Eagles. But, you know, it really began in the way he got to the Philadelphia Eagles, by having issues with his quarterback and some teammates with the San Francisco 49ers.

And I think a lot of people perceived it as just football issues, but those in the 49er organization and the Eagles organization later also felt that he had some personal issues that needed to be dealt with. And, obviously - if this report is true - those issues have not been dealt with.

PESCA: It always struck me as an observer that Owens persona was one of extreme confidence. Did you ever see anything different?

Mr. MENAFEE: Yeah. Absolutely. I didn't personally witness it, but when you talk to teammates and you talk to people in the organization, part of that confidence was because he was extremely sensitive and extremely shy in some ways.

So he took on this T.O. persona to kind of overcome a lot of the personal issues that people believed that he had, but certainly the shyness and the sensitivity. And that became his way of trying to deal with things that he really could not deal with on a normal level, was their belief.

PESCA: Can you give us some idea of what's it like to be in the fish bowl of Terrell Owens's life?

Mr. MENAFEE: Wow. I don't know how many people can. You know, maybe a Tiger Woods or a Michael Jordan. And I bring those guys up not because of their athletic prowess - which Terrell Owens is, you know, probably one of the finest athletes in the National Football League still - but because of the outside interest.

I mean, it wasn't just from sports fans. It's, you know, from the average Joe. You walk up and down the street and you mention T.O. or Terrell Owens, and most people will have an idea who he is when they see his face on television.

PESCA: And a strong opinion about him.

Mr. MENAFEE: Exactly. And so, I think that that's a different fish bowl than you could say even a lot of superstar athletes live in, where they're superstars in their sports but not to the general public. And I think that that is what made it so difficult to - makes it so difficult to try and explain what that lifestyle is like, because I don't know how many people ever, ever get to live that lifestyle, no matter how famous you are.

PESCA: On Monday night, we saw an example of football transcending sport. It was when they reopened the New Orleans Superdome. Do you think the Dallas Cowboys are going to be able to deal with this? Do you think the sport is capable of dealing with an incident like this?

Mr. MENAFEE: I think if any sport is, it's football. And I say that from the standpoint of it's a sport where you lose guys on a week-to-week basis, you know, just because it's such a physically demanding and brutal sport. So players and coaches have a way of dealing with not having someone there, of moving on from what would tragic circumstances in most other businesses or circumstances. But they're able to just move on. And I think that football players can do that.

PESCA: Thank you very much. Curt Menafee, halftime and post-game reporter for Fox NFL Sunday. Thanks, Curt.

Mr. MENAFEE: Thank you, Mike.

PESCA: DAY TO DAY returns in a moment.

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