- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 28, 2006

DALLAS — Flamboyant Dallas Cowboys receiver Terrell Owens denied a police report that he attempted suicide, saying he became groggy after mixing painkillers with supplements.

As if to prove he’s doing fine, Owens went from the hospital to catching passes from quarterback Drew Bledsoe within two hours, then proclaimed himself “very capable of going out there and playing on Sunday” — despite whatever happened Tuesday night and a broken right hand.

Owens said yesterday that the confusion likely stemmed from an empty bottle of pain medication found by his publicist, who was with him and called 911. He said the rest of the pills were in a drawer.

“I was nonresponsive when she made that call,” Owens said. “She made the call out of her judgment for my well-being.”

Appearing at a press conference at team headquarters a few hours after leaving a hospital for what a police report had described as “a drug overdose,” Owens wore workout gear and no bandage on his right hand. The star receiver smiled and seemed more amused than peeved at the latest ruckus surrounding him.

Owens, 32, 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 had been taking pain medication for a broken hand he sustained during a game a week ago Sunday.

Asked whether pain medications such as Percocet or Vicodin can cause depression, Dr. Lee Ann Rhodes, medical director of pain management at Washington Hospital Center, said, “Yes” in a “small percentage of patients.”

In an interview yesterday, Dr. Rhodes stressed that “90 percent of people in pain already are depressed.” And in a small percentage of patients, she said, pain medicines “can aggravate depression.”

Owens said he had taken only five pain pills before an incident Tuesday.

Asked whether consumption of the pain medicine could trigger suicidal thoughts and actions, Dr. Rhodes replied: “Typically, the medicine wouldn’t cause someone to become suicidal that acutely.”

Rescue workers arrived at Owens’ home at about 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 yesterday morning when several media outlets received an unreleased police report saying Owens had attempted suicide by overdosing on the painkillers and had even put two more pills into his mouth after a friend, later identified as Miss 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” and the details of Owens’ having two pills pried from his mouth and Owens’ saying “Yes” when asked whether he intended to harm himself.

“I was kind of out of it,” Owens said. “I can barely even remember the doctors, much less the police officers asking me questions.”

Owens also said that he’s “not depressed about anything” and that he should practice today.

Owens broke the bone leading to his right ring finger during a game against the Washington Redskins on Sept. 17. The next day, doctors screwed in a plate so the bone could heal without fear of further damage — leaving a 2-inch scar on top of his hand.

Miss Etheredge also appeared at Owens’ press conference, saying that she “did not take anything out of his mouth” and that it was unfair for anyone to think Owens would kill himself.

“Terrell has 25 million reasons why he should be alive,” she said, referring to the three-year, $25 million contract he signed in March with the Cowboys.

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.

Police Lt. Rick Watson said during his brief press conference that he could only confirm that paramedics called police to say they were taking Owens to the hospital. He said no more details would come from the police because no laws were broken.

“We looked into it, and we determined it is not a criminal offense,” Lt. Watson said. “This a medical type of situation that occurred.”



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