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OWENS APOLOGIZES FOR TOWEL SKIT

Terrell Owens was back on stage Thursday, pleading for someone to ask him about the Washington Redskins rather than the bare skin of Nicollette Sheridan, the actress whose pregame towel drop Monday night triggered a controversy the Eagles can't seem to make go away.

Like the team, the NFL and ABC, Owens tried to defuse the hullabaloo by offering an apology to those offended by his steamy pregame promotional appearance in which he played himself and Sheridan played Edie Britt, the serial divorcee from ABC's popular Sunday night soap opera, "Desperate Housewives."

"Personally, I didn't think it would offend anyone, and if it did, we apologize," Owens said the day after missing practice and his regularly scheduled media appearance.

Though he didn't make it to practice Wednesday, he did manage to tape an appearance on "Entertainment Tonight." He offered no apologies on that show.

"I was all for it . . . I enjoyed it," he told "ET" after astutely declaring that Sheridan is "a hot lady." Owens said the "ET" appearance was not the reason for his absence from practice Wednesday.

"I had some personal business to take care of, and the coaches allowed me to take care of it," he said.

The first 5 1/2 minutes of his nine-minute meeting with reporters Thursday were spent fielding questions about the "Monday Night Football" controversy, and he was no longer in the mood to laugh and joke about it after having a tremendous amount of fun with the skit for the first couple of days.

Owens reiterated his stance Thursday that he didn't think this should have caused so much commotion.

"I don't think it's any different than little kids watching 'South Park' or 'King of the Hill,' Owens said in reference to a couple of cartoons that many adults consider unfit for a younger audience. "Everybody knows the content in those shows, so my thing is: What's the difference?"

Around the league

Tennessee Titans quarterback Steve McNair practiced for a second straight day Thursday and said he feels good because his chest isn't as sore as a week ago.

"I can go out and throw pain free. Hopefully, I don't get hit at all, but I know it's going to come," said McNair, who has missed three starts, including the last two, because of a bruised chest.

Coach Jeff Fisher isn't ready to commit to McNair, calling him a game-time decision.

Kansas City's Priest Holmes, who leads the NFL with 15 touchdowns, will miss Monday night's game against New England because of strained ligaments in his right knee, Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil said. Holmes didn't play Sunday against New Orleans.

Arizona starters Emmitt Smith, Bertrand Berry and Karlos Dansby are questionable for Sunday's game at Carolina after sitting out the Cardinals' practice Thursday.

Carolina quarterback Jake Delhomme, who suffered a hairline fracture in his right thumb Sunday, said he's encouraged about his chances of playing against Arizona after throwing on the side Thursday for the first time this week.

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Duce Staley missed practice again Thursday with a sore hamstring that has kept him out of two games, meaning he is unlikely to play Sunday in Cincinnati.

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