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Owens not close to returning

Terrell Owens aggravated his left hamstring injury when he returned to practice last week for the Dallas Cowboys and almost certainly will miss his third straight exhibition game.

``It's frustrating, but it's not where I need it to be to play and perform like I need to," Owens said yesterday. ``So at this point, I'm going to be smart about it."

Asked if he could play if this was the regular season, Owens said, ``I doubt it, not the way I need to play."

After missing 14 consecutive training camp practices and the preseason opener in Seattle because of the hamstring problem that has bothered him all month, Owens returned for five practices last week. He missed the final full workout in Oxnard, Calif., last weekend and didn't play Monday night against New Orleans in Shreveport, La., after the hamstring tightened up on him.

In other Cowboys news, Drew Henson, once considered the team's quarterback of the future, is done in Dallas. The team is expected to try to trade Henson, leaving rookie free agent Matt Baker as the No. 3 QB behind Drew Bledsoe and Tony Romo.

Falcons sign Jackson
The Atlanta Falcons have agreed to terms on a three-year contract with Grady Jackson, a free agent defensive tackle who spent the last three years with the Green Bay Packers . . . Colts running back and short-yardage specialist James Mungro will miss the season after tearing a knee ligament during Sunday's preseason game against Seattle . . . Jets running back Kevan Barlow apologized to 49ers coach Mike Nolan for comparing him to Adolf Hitler in a newspaper interview. Barlow, who was traded from San Francisco to New York Sunday, said ``if I could take it back, I would." Barlow told the newspaper Nolan was a ``first-time head coach with too much power. He walks around with a chip on his shoulder, like he's a dictator, like he's Hitler." . . . Pittsburgh coach Bill Cowher said the Steelers probably won't have a short-yardage specialist this season to replace Jerome Bettis. Former starter Duce Staley or third-down back Verron Haynes appeared to be competing for the job, but Cowher said starter Willie Parker might get the ball frequently inside the 10-yard line, something that rarely happened last season . . . Raiders center Jake Grove will undergo a second MRI on his injured left shoulder and will miss tomorrow's exhibition game against the Lions . . . The 49ers put center Jeremy Newberry on injured reserve, eight days after the two-time Pro Bowl center had surgery to repair his damaged left knee . . . Gene Hickerson, who blocked for three Hall of Fame running backs with the Browns during his NFL career, and Lions tight end Charlie Sanders have been selected as senior committee finalists for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame . . . The Minnesota Vikings reached an undisclosed settlement with Fran Foley, the former vice president of player personnel. Foley was fired abruptly in May, only three months after signing a three-year contract. Foley admitted to several inaccuracies on the résumé he provided, including exaggerating his playing career at Framingham State College.

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