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Tuesday, October 15
Updated: October 16, 1:39 PM ET
Holmgren calls incident 'shameful ... a dishonor'

Associated Press

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Terrell Owens won't get any trouble from coach Steve Mariucci for his latest groundbreaking innovation in touchdown celebrations.

It was a friendly gesture to some mutual friend. The only unusual thing was the Sharpie out of the sock.
Steve Mariucci, 49ers coach

Mariucci has clashed with the San Francisco 49ers' All-Pro receiver countless times, but the coach didn't have anything negative to say Tuesday. Owens caught a fourth-quarter touchdown pass against in a 28-21 victory Monday night over Seattle, then autographed the ball with a pen he stored in his sock before presenting it to his financial adviser in the front row.

"He was cordial enough to give someone a ball,'' Mariucci said. "It happens all the time where a guy will score a touchdown and go give it to his mom or his girlfriend. That happens all the time. There weren't any obscene gestures, there was no taunting toward the bench or the crowd.

"It was a friendly gesture to some mutual friend. The only unusual thing was the Sharpie out of the sock.''

Others weren't as kind. Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren -- Mariucci's friend and mentor -- called Owens' celebration "shameful'' and "a dishonor to anyone who ever played this game.''

Seattle defensive lineman John Randle -- who once celebrated a sack by crawling on the ground and lifting his leg like a dog near a fire hydrant -- called it "embarrassing for the league.''

Owens, who never shies away from big plays or dramatic gestures, got in trouble two years ago with two outlandish touchdown celebrations on the Dallas Cowboys' star logo on the middle of their home field. For that, Mariucci suspended Owens for one game.

No such punishment will be forthcoming this time from Mariucci, who thought Owens' gesture was a bit of fun -- and something that wouldn't have received nearly as much attention in a Sunday afternoon game.

"I haven't heard anything yet from the league,'' Mariucci said. "I'm not aware of any rule that states no bells or whistles or Sharpies. We get memos all the time from the league: 'Be careful, you've got 12 guys in the huddle,' or 'Make sure your guys have their shirts tucked in.' We may very well get one that reminds our players to stay with the standard uniform and nothing additional.''

The NFL, in fact, said Tuesday that Owens would not be fined.

Owens wasn't around the 49ers' training complex on Tuesday because the players had the day off.

Mariucci was pleased with everything else Owens did against the Seahawks as San Francisco improved to 4-1 to maintain its lead in the NFC West. After four difficult weeks to open the season, Owens had six catches for 84 yards and two TDs while J.J. Stokes, the 49ers' No. 2 receiver, missed the game with a sprained knee ligament.

The 49ers' offense hasn't really put on an overwhelming performance yet, but both offense and defense have been tough in late-game situations. San Francisco rallied from a fourth-quarter deficit to beat Seattle.

"Our performance level has been such that it doesn't deviate too much from game to game,'' Mariucci said, "I think that's because we have some levelheaded guys that come to work very blue collar-like and work hard every day and just get it up every week.

"It's not easy to keep brainwashing your team that this game is bigger than the last one. It's a long season. To get that high every time is not easy, but this young football team is finding a way to do that.''

Injuries might be the only thing that could slow down the 49ers' improvements. Starting safety Zack Bronson will be out six-to-eight weeks with a broken foot, and backup running back Terry Jackson might be lost for the season with a knee injury.

Ronnie Heard, who still hasn't fully recovered from a sprained ankle, will be expected to replace Bronson in the starting lineup Sunday at New Orleans.

The 49ers might activate Jamal Robertson, the NFL Europe offensive MVP who made the team during training camp, to replace Jackson.

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