Owens' comeback reaches field

Associated Press
Published February 1, 2005

JACKSONVILLE - Terrell Owens practiced Monday for the first time since injuring his ankle last month, moving closer to a possible return for the Super Bowl.

The Eagles' All-Pro receiver took part in fewer than one-third of the team's 30 plays, getting a pass each time he ran a route. Last week, Dr. Mark Myerson , the surgeon who operated on Owens' right ankle in December, said he would not clear him to suit up against the Patriots on Sunday.

"We limited what he did and he did it well and he did it with the team," coach Andy Reid . "He moved around pretty well. We'll see how he continues, see how he feels (today) and the rest of the week."

In his first season with the Eagles after eight in San Francisco, Owens led Philadelphia with 77 catches for 1,200 yards and 14 touchdowns.

Myerson inserted two screws in Owens' ankle and a plate outside the ankle three days after Owens' injury Dec.19 against Dallas. Owens was told after surgery that he had only an outside chance of returning for the Super Bowl, 61/2 weeks away at the time. But he rehabilitated vigorously, hoping to help Philadelphia win its first NFL championship since 1960.

The decision on Owens' status will come down to the player, Reid and the team's medical staff.

"Could the same injury occur? Yes," Reid said. "But he won't damage it any further than he already has."

Owens wasn't available for comment. He's supposed to take part in today's interview sessions.

"He looked pretty smooth out there," tight end L.J. Smith said. "He's not trying to push it. He's getting his timing down and he caught a couple balls."

THOMASON IN PLANS: Two weeks ago, Jeff Thomason was a retired player working as a project manager for a construction company. Now, he's part of the Eagles' game plan for the Super Bowl.

Reid said the 35-year-old roster replacement for injured tight end Chad Lewis will play about 15 plays.

"We'll see how it works out. ... That's usually what our second tight end gets," Reid said.

Thomason played in two Super Bowls for Green Bay in the 1990s and spent three seasons with the Eagles during a 10-year career that was over until the Eagles called when Lewis hurt his left foot on a touchdown catch against Atlanta in the NFC Championship Game.

PATS LB SITS: Patriots linebacker Ted Johnson missed practice with a leg injury.

"His leg is a little tight," coach Bill Belichick told a pool reporter.

No further information about the injury was available, team spokesman Stacey James said. The first official Super Bowl injury report will be issued Wednesday.

Johnson was among several Patriots who played with the flu in the AFC Championship Game Jan. 23 against Pittsburgh.

Defensive tackle Richard Seymour , who missed the last three games with a left knee injury, did light work on the side.

SIMONEAU'S RETURN: Eagles linebacker Mark Simoneau , who missed two playoff games with an ankle injury, practiced full speed and should play in the Super Bowl.

Defensive coordinator Jim Johnson said Simoneau might start, depending on which defensive package the Eagles use.

Simoneau hasn't played since straining a ligament in his ankle in the regular-season finale against Cincinnati Jan. 2.

Keith Adams filled in nicely for Simoneau in the playoffs, including an outstanding performance in the NFC Championship Game, when he had seven tackles, two on quarterback Michael Vick that prevented long gains.

FANS COUNT, TOO: Fans can participate in the selection of Sunday's most valuable player by voting on the Internet or by text message with a wireless device. The results of the balloting will count 20 percent (four votes), with 16 media members covering the game determining the rest.

FOX Sports announcer Joe Buck will encourage fans to get involved by going to superbowl.com or foxsports.com or by using their wireless devices to text the word MVP to 88288. A replay message will instruct fans to vote for one of the candidates.

WELL REPRESENTED: No college is better represented in the Super Bowl than Colorado, which has six former Buffaloes with the Eagles and Patriots.

Philadelphia's roster includes safety Michael Lewis and backup quarterback Koy Detmer . New England features linebacker Johnson and tight ends Daniel Graham and Christian Fauria . A fourth Patriot from Colorado, offensive tackle Tom Ashworth , is on injured reserve.

"That just shows those guys who are being recruited, it pays to go to CU. Look where you might wind up," Lewis said.