SANTA CLARA – Terrell Owens was just having fun with his Web-site audience when he bashed Jeff Garcia and said he would leave San Francisco if Garcia remains the 49ers' starting quarterback, according to a press release reportedly written by the wide receiver and sent out Tuesday by his agent, David Joseph.
Last week, Owens’ Internet site – http://www.terrellowens.com
– made news when the wide receiver threw his support behind 49ers backup quarterback Tim Rattay while slamming Garcia. Owens also poked fun at Garcia's recent drunken-driving arrest, saying if the quarterback attended Owens’ Super Bowl party, he would need to arrange a limousine to get Garcia home safely.
Now Owens says those remarks were taken out of context and didn't reflect the "lighthearted" and "off the cuff" tenor of his Internet chats.
"(Garcia) is undoubtedly one of the toughest and most courageous competitors with whom I have ever played," Owens wrote in his statement. "If we end up playing for different teams in the future, I will always have a lot of respect for Jeff and the things he did for me during my career with the 49ers."
If he doesn't sign a new contract with the 49ers in the next several weeks, Owens can hit the free-agent market. He has said the Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens and Philadelphia Eagles are teams he would consider. Joseph couldn't be reached for comment Tuesday.