IRVING, Texas (AP) -Sure, Terrell Owens still wants the ball as much as possible.
What has changed - for now - is how T.O. deals with the frustration when he doesn't think he's being involved enough in the Dallas Cowboys' offense.
``As for me getting upset because I'm not getting the ball, going up to the coach telling him to get the ball more, all that did was get me bad publicity,'' Owens said Wednesday. ``At the same time, it didn't get me the ball any more. So I've learned.''
Owens keeps reminding himself to be patient because he knows people are watching him to see what he will do if things aren't going good.
Television cameras zoom in on the receiver even when the Cowboys' offense isn't on the field. ``They try to find the most handsome guy on the sideline, and that just happens to be me,'' he said with a wide smile.
But even Owens knows that they're trying to see something else.
From San Francisco to Philadelphia, and even last season with the Cowboys, there have been numerous sideline outbursts by Owens. Some were directed at coaches and quarterbacks. Other times Owens loudly exclaimed ``Why am I here?'' to no one in particular when he was not getting passes thrown his way.
``I know you guys (media) are looking for me to blow up,'' Owens said. ``I'm very conscious of that, but at the same time I have to realize that the coaches know that I'm on the football field. They understand that I can make plays. In order for that to happen, my number has to be called.
``There's a lot that has to go into plays being called,'' he said. ``There's no reason to go yapping at the coach, telling him to throw me the ball. I'm just trying to do whatever I can, man. When my number's called, I try to make the plays.''
Owens has 27 catches for 453 yards and four touchdowns. Those are similar to his stats at the same point last season (28 catches, 375 yards and five TDs), before he went on to lead the NFL with 13 TD catches.
``His season so far is pretty outstanding,'' coach Wade Phillips said. ``We've got to keep going and see what happens. But we're going to feature him and try to get him the football because he's a talented player.''
While Phillips' primary focus is on the Cowboys' defense, he has always made a point to get the most out of his best players. Owens is one of them, and Phillips has told his offensive coaches to do their best to get T.O. the ball.
``(The coaches) tell me that every week,'' Owens said. ``I'm not going to gripe about anything.''
The Cowboys got off to a good start getting Owens the ball. He caught 16 passes for 329 yards and three touchdowns the first three games, but has only 11 catches for 124 yards and a score in the three games since.
``He's pretty well committed to trying to win,'' Phillips said. ``I think he knows what we're trying to get him the football.''
One of the closing televised images of the Cowboys' improbable 25-24 Monday night victory over the Buffalo Bills on Oct. 8 was an excited Owens running off the field.
There were a couple of different scenes on the sideline during the Bills game, when Owens was shown in somewhat animated conversations with quarterback Tony Romo. But more than ``give-me-the-ball'' gripes by Owens, who had only two catches for 25 yards, the receiver was trying to encourage Romo during a six-turnover performance (five interceptions, fumble).
Owens had six catches for 66 yards and a TD in the 48-27 loss to New England on Sunday.
After a bad statistical game followed by the first loss of the season, Owens still seemed in a positive mode when he resumed his normal Wednesday chat with reporters. He didn't talk last week, and instead wrote a note before the game against the Patriots and the ``other 81,'' as T.O. referred to Randy Moss.
``I mean, I'm still being talked about when I'm not doing anything. I'm just going to be patient,'' Owens said. ``At the same time, I know this season is long. It's definitely not how you start the season, it's how you finish. Obviously, we've had a good start.''

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