By Times staff and wire reports
© St. Petersburg Times
published April 28, 2002
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Terrell Owens and coach Steve Mariucci seemed quite tolerant of each other on the first day of mini-camp Friday, even if the 49ers still frown on the star receiver's impending foray into professional basketball.
"We're fine," said Owens, who met with Mariucci nearly three weeks ago to try to patch up their differences. "I think he's the greatest guy in the world right now. At this point, everything is cool, and that's the way we plan for it to be the rest of the season."
Owens, who plans to play in the U.S. Basketball League starting next month, appeared happy and excited talking with reporters. He blamed a lack of contact with his coach for much of the rancor and said both agreed to do a better job of communicating. Mariucci, who flew to Owens' offseason home in Atlanta for the meeting, also seemed relieved their relationship was on the mend.
"We've spoken several times this week, and he's ready to practice and we're ready to have this mini-camp," Mariucci said. "It's great to have everybody back, including T.O."
The detente comes after a long-simmering feud, which originated with Mariucci's one-game suspension of Owens after the receiver's touchdown celebrations in Dallas two years ago. Hostilities boiled over last season, when the two were involved in a series of harsh exchanges over Mariucci's play-calling and Owens' involvement in the offense. Owens even asked to be made available for the expansion draft, a request the 49ers denied.
ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Quarterback Rich Gannon was a conspicuous no-show for the Raiders' voluntary minicamp this weekend.
ESPN reported Gannon's contract was the reason he missed an earlier quarterback orientation.
Oakland coach Bill Callahan said he wasn't bothered by the absence and hopes any issues are resolved soon.
CHARGERS: Wide receiver Terry Charles, a fifth-round pick from Portland State, injured his left knee during practice on Friday and will have surgery May 6.
The team said Charles tore the anterior cruciate ligament running a pass route.
"At this juncture, we're not quite sure how long he'll be out," coach Marty Schottenheimer said.
COLTS: The team signed free-agent offensive lineman Jim Pyne, an ex-Buc.
COWBOYS: Veteran tight end Tony McGee signed, two days after he was cut by the Bengals.
GIANTS: Jeff Hatch, the tackle who earlier refused to practice with the team, signed an injury waiver and practiced.
Hatch, the third-round pick out of Pennsylvania, surprised and angered the team, refusing to sign the injury waiver on the advice of agent Alan Herman. Without it, he could not practice with the team.
"It was killing me to sit out," Hatch said.
TEXANS: Jermaine Lewis, projected to be a starting wide receiver, injured his hamstring during a minicamp workout.
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