Eagles suspend WR Owens for detrimental conduct
November 5, 2005
PHILADELPHIA (Ticker) - Terrell Owens' apology was not enough.
The Philadelphia Eagles announced on Saturday that Owens has been suspended for conduct detrimental to the team.
Perhaps the NFL's best wide receiver, Owens has been a major headache off the field for the Eagles. On Thursday, he created some more angst with another verbal jab at Eagles' quarterback Donovan McNabb and criticisms of the organization.
In an interview with ESPN.com contributor Graham Bensinger, Owens agreed with ESPN analyst Michael Irvin's assessment that the Eagles (4-3) would be undefeated if Brett Favre was their quarterback.
"That's a good assessment," Owens said when asked by Bensinger if he agreed with Irvin's opinion. "I would agree with that, just with what (Favre) brings to the table."
In the interview, Owens also ripped the organization for not acknowledging his 100th career touchdown pass in the Eagles' home win over San Diego on October 23.
"They claim to be first class and the best organization. It's an embarrassment," Owens said in the ESPN.com interview. "It just shows a lack of class they have."
Owens apologized for those remarks on Friday, reading a brief statement at a news conference.
"I had an opportunity to talk with the organization this (Friday) morning and I've been told that the team does not recognize individual achievements," Owens said. "It was brought to my attention that I offended the organization and my teammates. Therefore, I'd like to apologize for any derogatory comments toward them."
Eagles coach Andy Reid answered questions briefly before Owens made his statement.
"I take care of these things in house," Reid said. "You know that's the way we do things here. I will address it with the player."
When asked if Owens could be suspended for his comments, Reid said "We'll see how things play out."
Apparently, after talking the matter over with the team, Reid decided to suspend Owens.
McNabb did not address the media, but he could not be pleased with the latest verbal attack from Owens.
In an interview last April, Owens said he "wasn't the guy who got tired in the Super Bowl," a reference to several media reports that claimed McNabb was either ill or tired late in the fourth quarter of the Eagles' Super Bowl loss to the New England Patriots last February.
McNabb denied those reports, but several offensive linemen said that McNabb appeared ill and that since-released receiver Freddie Mitchell was forced to call a play in the huddle. Reid also denied that McNabb was ill.
Then after being banished from training camp for a week by Reid for conduct detrimental to the team, Owens called McNabb a "hypocrite."
McNabb said then he could still play with Owens, but was "hurt" by Owens' "hypocrite" remark.
McNabb and veteran safety Brian Dawkins maintained then that Owens' presence and his contract situation would be neither divisive or a distraction for the defending NFC champions.
But this may have been the last straw for the Eagles (4-3), who play Washington (4-3) in a pivotal NFC East game on Sunday night. The Eagles trail the New York Giants (5-2) and the Dallas Cowboys (5-3) in the division.
Owens remains disgruntled over the seven-year contract worth nearly $49 million he signed last year after being acquired from San Francisco. He has a 2005 base salary of $3.25 million, which ranks outside the top 10 among wideouts.
Owens hired agent Drew Rosenhaus in the offseason, a move designed at trying to renegotiate his contract. The Eagles remained steadfast that they would not rework Owens' deal.
Last season, Owens had 77 catches for 1,200 yards and a franchise-record 14 receiving touchdowns before injuring his ankle against Dallas.
After missing the final two regular-season games and the first two games of the playoffs, he made a heroic return and had nine catches for 122 yards in a 24-21 loss to New England in Super Bowl XXXIX.
Updated on Saturday, Nov 5, 2005 1:43 pm EST