IRVING (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 since being hired last winter to replace the retired Bill Parcells 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.”