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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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Silence can't prevent Eagles from thriving
By JOANNE KORTH
Published August 28, 2005
First and 10, Philly.
Offense in the huddle.
Quarterback Donovan McNabb reaches into his sock, pulls out a Sharpie and a small pad of personalized stationery. Hurriedly, he jots down a string of words. The play clock is ticking.
McNabb tears a sheet from the tablet. Folds it into a secret square, tucks the flap under.
"Pass it down," he says.
McNabb hands it to tackle Tra Thomas, who hands it to fullback Jon Ritchie, who hands it to running back Brian Westbrook.
"Is this from my agent?"
"No, just pass it."
Westbrook hands the note to receiver Greg Lewis, who hands it to receiver Terrell Owens.
Owens takes off his headphones, unfolds the note, holds it up.
His brow furrows.
He nudges Lewis.
"Dude, I can't read this chicken scratch," Owens says. "What, is he too tired to write legibly?"
"Run a post," Lewis says.
"Okay. Tell him I'll be open."
"Yeah, he knows."
* * *
McNabb and Owens still aren't talking.
Apparently, it doesn't matter.
Owens made his preseason debut Friday night against the Bengals and, on the offense's first play from scrimmage, caught a deep pass from McNabb for a 64-yard touchdown.
On the first play.
McNabb and Owens celebrated with teammates but not each other. Owens walked past McNabb twice on the sideline and sat within a few feet of him on the bench.
No words were exchanged.
Isn't the silence nice?
In his first appearance since Super Bowl XXXIX, Owens caught five passes for 131 yards in less than a half. For those wondering how Owens' silent treatment would affect his productivity, there's the answer. For those wondering how the disgruntled Owens would affect the Eagles offense, there's the answer.
Business is booming.
Inside the Philly locker room, players are having as much fun with this as anyone, another testament to the team's fortitude. Rather than get torqued about T.O., the Eagles are laughing about the absurdity of the situation.
Defensive end Jevon Kearse went so far as to suggest McNabb and Owens would hug and kiss before it was all over.
Of course, it is ludicrous to think a quarterback and the team's best receiver will go an entire season without speaking. Isn't it? At some point, someone has to break the silence.
SHAKY START: Through three preseason games, Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer is 29-of-60 for 325 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Playing into the third quarter of Friday's 27-17 loss, he failed to direct the first-team offense to a touchdown.
WINDS OF CHANGE: How long until rookie quarterback Kyle Orton starts for the Bears?
Orton, a third-round pick from Purdue, has outplayed starter Chad Hutchinson the past two games albeit while going against opponents' second- and third-string defenders.
MONDAY NIGHT LIGHTS: Cowboys rookie linebacker Demarcus Ware looked lost during the first two weeks of training camp. Then he played for the first time on Monday Night Football.
Looking more like the player who reminds coach Bill Parcells of Hall of Fame linebacker Lawrence Taylor, Ware had a sack, fumble recovery, two forced fumbles, interception and quarterback pressure in an 18-10 victory against the Seahawks.
"On a scale from one to 10, I was maybe an eight," Ware said.
Information from other news organizations was used in the report.