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Owens facing object of his scorn: Garcia

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Maybe it was just in anticipation of the next game, but the first crack seemed to appear this week in the Terrell Owens love affair in Philadelphia.

Owens was shut out in the second half of a 30-8 victory over Carolina, after catching four passes for 123 yards in the first half. It was also the first game this season in which Owens did not score a touchdown.

After the game, Owens said, "It was frustrating, because there were times when I was open."

He seemed to accept the situation because the Eagles were so far ahead, and coach Andy Reid tried to laugh it off by saying, "I don't know about that. I think all the receivers consider themselves open most of the time."

But the Eagles' next opponent has a player who could tell them to watch out any time they think they can shrug off a complaint from Owens.

Today, Philadelphia plays at Cleveland. Owens and quarterback Jeff Garcia will be on the same field, although not at the same time. It's the start of a monthlong tour by Owens to all the places he has torched, verbally or otherwise, throughout his career.

After Cleveland, the Eagles play at Baltimore. You remember, the team that Owens briefly was traded to last winter, but didn't want to play for. Two weeks after that, the Eagles go to Dallas, where Owens' reputation for foolishness began to take shape on the 50-yard line, four years ago.

First things first.

Garcia always has kept his feelings about Owens private, although he complained that Owens frequently ran his pass routes incorrectly. This week, he said in Cleveland that he has "moved on," but also said that he hoped someday he and Owens could patch up their differences.

Fat chance.

Owens, whose one on-field failing with the 49ers was dropping a lot of passes, is better at holding onto a grudge. In Philadelphia this week, he deflected questions about his prickly relationship with Garcia but also said he hadn't talked about him since training camp, which was not quite accurate.

Last week, on HBO's "Inside the NFL," Owens said he would have piled up even better statistics than he did the last few years if he had someone such as Donovan McNabb throwing to him instead of Garcia.

"He threw the ball behind me, out of bounds; I left a lot of touchdowns on the field throughout the last two or three years," Owens said.

There is no need to rehash all the past complaints and problems between the two ex-49ers; let's just leave it that they didn't like each other and that Owens complained publicly about Garcia's accuracy and arm strength.

But no matter what problems they had with each other, the numbers say they actually worked well together. Owens should let it go.

In 68 games, Owens caught 51 touchdown passes from Garcia. Entering this season, that was the same ratio that Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison (68 TDs in 90 games) had in Indianapolis, and was ahead of Daunte Culpepper and Randy Moss (40 TDs in 60 games). In virtually every category, Garcia had better career statistics than McNabb.

"I know had I had a strong-armed quarterback . . . There wouldn't be any kind of comparison," Owens said.

No question that Owens is having a big year with the Eagles. Garcia is having a big year, truth be told, in Cleveland (although he has not been very good on the road). But there won't be any warm and fuzzy reunion-type things on Sunday. As if anyone thought otherwise, Owens said firmly he wouldn't talk to Garcia.