Terrell Owens dominated the locker room conversation at Redskin Park yesterday even though Washington doesn't play Dallas again for five weeks. The apparently mistakenly reported suicide attempt by the ever-controversial Cowboys receiver took the Redskins by surprise.
"We're human beings," defensive tackle Joe Salave'a said. "It just so happens that our profession is out in the open. When there's a lot of pressure on you, sometimes it turns negative. Hopefully that's not the case with Terrell. This is just a game. Guys have to understand that there's more to life than football."
Salave'a said troubled players need to take advantage of the available counseling.
"There's a lot of help, a lot of support groups that the league has distributed around the country, but the initiative [belongs to] the player to take it," Salave'a added. "If you don't have that support group at the house ... that's another reason why guys turn to alcohol or whatever means. As a teammate, you have to make yourself available if they're not talking to their family or their coaches. You need that release. If you bottle everything up, you can only fill the cup so much until it spills over."
Cornerback Mike Rumph played two seasons with Owens in San Francisco and was saddened to hear about his friend's latest crisis.
"Terrell's a guy who takes care of his body," Rumph said. "He's one of the most healthy people I've ever met. He has a staff of guys who take care of his health and bring him supplements. Terrell's not a big partier. He doesn't drink much. I've never heard of him being associated with any drugs. He puts all he has into football.'"
With the left elbow that needed three stitches Sunday in Houston wrapped tightly in an Ace bandage, quarterback Mark Brunell was a spectator during practice except for using his right hand in strip drills with his backups before the 11-on-11 session.
Veteran Todd Collins took the first-team snaps ahead of second-year player Jason Campbell because Brunell is probable for Sunday's game with Jacksonville and that's how coach Joe Gibbs split the backup roles Sept. 4. Campbell would have taken the work if he was in line to start. Brunell is expected to practice today or tomorrow.
"It's just precautionary. Let Mark have another day of healing," Gibbs said. "We want to give every chance we can to get that thing calmed down as best we can."
Cornerback Shawn Springs, who strained his right groin last Wednesday in his first practice since abdominal surgery on Aug. 15, was examined in Philadelphia yesterday by surgeon William Meyers. Springs likely will miss a fourth straight game Sunday.
Salave'a, who was sidelined at Houston with a strained right calf suffered at Dallas on Sept. 17, took part in individual drills after missing all of last week. He is listed as probable for the Jaguars game.
"It feels decent, but I'm trying not to get too excited," Salave'a said.
Sixth-round draft choice Kedric Golston started his first game in place of Salave'a, and fellow rookie Anthony Montgomery saw his first action. Golston made three tackles, and Montgomery had two.
"I'm proud of them," Salave'a said. "They played well. They played physical. They've established themselves early on and hopefully they can build on that."
Montgomery felt good about his first day under true fire.
"It's unbelievable how fast these offensive linemen move," the fifth-rounder said. "You can't take any downs off because the guy lined up across from you is just as good. If you don't play good, you'll get embarrassed. I've gotten better with using my hands and keeping low. I've still got a long way to go as far as technique."
No answers for penalties
Gibbs said he had come up empty in his queries with new assistants Al Saunders, Jerry Gray and Bob Saunders about a cure for the Redskins' league-high 30 penalties for 298 yards.
"Other than the firing squad," Gibbs joked.