Terrell Owens Suspended Indefinitely by Eagles

The Philadelphia Eagles have suspended star wide receiver Terrell Owens indefinitely for “conduct detrimental to the team.”

Eagles Suspend Terrell Owens Indefinitely (AP)

Terrell Owens can host an open house, exercise on his front lawn or practice a new touchdown celebration Sunday. He won’t be playing for the Philadelphia Eagles. Owens was suspended indefinitely by the Eagles on Saturday, two days after he criticized the organization for not publicly recognizing his 100th career touchdown catch two weeks ago. The All-Pro wide receiver apologized Friday in a statement and later on his weekly radio show, but the damage already was done.

The Eagles issued a statement that said Owens was suspended “for conduct detrimental to the team.” The team added that it will have no further comment. Owens’ agent, Drew Rosenhaus, refused to comment.

It’s unlikely Owens will be paid for sitting out this game, though neither the team nor Rosenhaus would discuss the situation. Owens is scheduled to make $3.5 million in base salary this season, so the suspension would cost him more than $200,000 per game if it’s without pay. The collective bargaining agreement states that a player can be suspended for up to four games without pay for conduct detrimental to the team. However, the Eagles could decide to pay Owens to stay home the rest of the season.

[…]

his is the second time Owens has been suspended during his controversial 10-year career. In 2000, he was suspended one game by San Francisco coach Steve Mariucci following his infamous touchdown celebrations on the
Dallas Cowboys’ famed star logo at the center of Texas Stadium.

Owens clashed with management this summer and earned a one-week exile from training camp after a heated dispute with coach Andy Reid, which led to a bizarre workout on his lawn in front of neighbors and reporters.

Owens got in trouble this time after taking shots at the team and quarterback Donovan McNabb in an interview with ESPN.com on Thursday. Owens was upset there was no in-stadium acknowledgment of his 100th career TD reception in a victory over San Diego on Oct. 23. An announcement was made in the press box. “That right there just shows you the type of class and integrity that they claim not to be,” said Owens, who became the sixth receiver in NFL history to reach the milestone. “They claim to be first class and the best organization. It’s an embarrassment. It just shows a lack of class they have. My publicist talked to the head PR guy, and they made an excuse they didn’t recognize that was coming up. But that was a blatant lie. Had it been somebody else, they probably would have popped fireworks around the stadium.”

Owens also said the Eagles would be undefeated with Green Bay’s Brett Favre at quarterback. “A number of commentators will say he’s a warrior, he’s played with injuries,” Owens said, referring to Favre. “I feel like him being knowledgeable about the quarterback position, I feel like we’d probably be in a better situation.”

ESPN’s Len Pasquarelli adds,

Under terms of the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement, a player can be suspended for a maximum of four games for conduct detrimental to his team. It remained unclear if the Eagles have fined Owens; a team source declined to address any financial element of the disciplinary action. A fine would cost Owens $191,176 for every game he misses, based on his salary of $3.25 million for this season.

It is not certain if Owens, who was suspended for a week during training camp, will appeal the latest sanction by Eagles officials. Agent Drew Rosenhaus did not immediately return messages Saturday afternoon.

I’m no fan of Owens’ antics, which I do believe are selfish and harmful to team cohesiveness. Still, the Eagles knew what they were getting when they signed him. As Merril Hoge notes,

When the Eagles and coach Andy Reid allowed Owens to come back after a chaotic offseason spent bashing the organization and players, they set themselves up for this to happen. I said then that the organization was going to have to deal with the T.O. mess eventually, and now Philadelphia is dealing with him. This team should’ve put its foot down earlier and made sure this didn’t happen again by either trading him or suspending him for a couple of games.

The Eagles’ ability to suspend Owens for four games strikes me as incredibly arbitrary. It’s true that employers are generally free to fire employees who are disruptive at the workplace. But this is different: They control his ability to make a living, not just his paycheck. Owens is not free to take his services elsewhere.

As frustrating as he is, probably 20 general managers would sign him in a heartbeat. On the field, the only other wideouts even in the discussion as to being in his class are the Raiders’ Randy Moss and the Colts’ Marvin Harrison. Of those, only Harrison is a good teammate.

FILED UNDER: General, Sports
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. TINA BAKER says:

    If they, the management, wanted to suspend him, I do not see why he should be suspended without being able to be pickup by some other team. They, the Eagles new the type of player (person) he was before they let him come back on the team. That man has a life style that he is custom to and probably a family to take care of. If they could not deal with him as a player they should have traded him off to some of other team that would have been glad to have him. I am a Terrel Owens fan. I would like to see him come back to the game of football. He is a great intertainer. Football fans would love to see him perform. Give the man one more chance, and set him down and tell him straight up what the Eagles will not tolerate from him. If this had been addressed from the start Terrel Owens would not have been carrying own like he has. I blame management because they allowed this to get this far.

  2. It’s about freaking time.

  3. Gary says:

    T. Owens is the biggest whining pussy boy in the NFL today. Grow up and act like you’re worth $191,000 per game. I’m sooooo sick of him. I hope that the Eagles suffer from this one…. He belongs with the classless Raiders!

  4. Bill Narasnek says:

    About time. Much has been said about how this should have come sooner. The Eagles have extended themselves, as modern management dictates, to give Owens every opportunity to be a part of the team. He, (Owens), has not and cannot take a rational approach to being a good teammate while taking in nearly 7 million dollars a year. It is frustrating as a fan to see players like this, and he isn’t the only one, be so consumed with themselves. Why can’t they or their agents take a lesson from true sports heroes like Julius Irving or Jerry Rice whose presence on and off the field have earned them the real respect that these fools so desire? The best thing for the sport would be for the Eagles to let Owens go and for the other franchises to pass on him. Not a chance!!! He’ll have a job in a heartbeat given the nature of franchise owners. Still, letting him go will be the most positive step the Eagles will take all year.

  5. exohuman says:

    I think his ego is out of control, but I don’t agree that suspension is a way to control it. What his team doesn’t seem to understand is that Owens actually has an opinion born of experience. So, rather than punishing him for expressing his opinions, I think it would be much smarter to provide him a NFL controlled forum to express his opinions publicly, and make some money off him while doing so. Let him say what he wants on these little shows… it doesn’t really matter anyway.

  6. Ever heard of Torry Holt and Chad Johnson? I think most GMs would want Torry and maybe Chad before Marvin these days, and maybe even before Randy and T.O. Chad’s a bit of a T.O. wannabe, but Torry’s a good citizen. In the past, it has been widely asserted that teams are willing to look past bad behavior as a citizen if you can help the team, but T.O. is presenting the Eagles with a different problem altogether. By all accounts, he is a good citizen, but he is destroying the team from the inside. No coach or GM can stand for that, if they want to keep their jobs. At this point, I sincerely doubt that any team with bona fide Super Bowl aspirations would have any interest whatsoever in having T.O. on their team.

    As to T.O. not being able to take his services elsewhere, there’s always semi-pro leagues; the CFL; other sports, i.e., the NBA; or jobs like most of the rest of us have that don’t pay quite as much or glorify or reward behavior that demeans your co-workers. Where is it written that anyone is entitled to be payed tens of millions of dollars to be an athlete? I’m quite certain the NFLPA will file a grievance is there is a legitimate case for one.

    Sorry, but T.O. gets no sympathy in his drive to elevate his Q rating and his checkbook balance with behavior that we do everything we can to discourage in young people and adults out in the real world. And while I’m on a roll, the role ESPN has taken in promoting his bad behavior is reprehensible.

  7. McGehee says:

    Sorry, but T.O. gets no sympathy in his drive to elevate his Q rating and his checkbook balance with behavior that we do everything we can to discourage in young people and adults out in the real world.

    With an attitude like his, Owens should be in the NBA.

  8. Josh Cohen says:

    I don’t care how good TO is. If I was the coach of a football team, I would fight tooth and nail against the GM if s/he wanted to sign TO. I would rather have the crappiest receiver in the league than TO. Even crappy receivers care about their team. (most of them) TO doesn’t care about any team but the “me” in that word.

  9. Sonja says:

    Ya don’t bite the hand that feeds ya. Period. You don’t talk poorly about your team.

    The athletes that I like to watch are the ones that just love to play the game. Players like Jerome Bettis who are 100% team players. My son, who is 8 years old and I are watching T.O to see what happens. My 8 yo could teach T.O alot about team work, what it means to be a team player. No one wins or loses a game on their own.

    Heck – they probably didn’t reward his 100th touchdown pass because they figured he toots his own horn enough without receiving any help from his “team”…. Grow up T.O – you may be an athlete – but you’re sure as hell not a professional.

  10. Owens is a whiny bitch. Hopefully, he will get what he so deserves. No respect from anyone.

  11. Alicia says:

    Terrell Owens is a big JERK. He has ruined the Eagles. He has made himself and my city the laughing stock of the NFL. Having him play for the Eagles has caused my city so much embarrassment. Way more drama than we needed. I am anticipating his dismissal from the team. His head is way too big. The reason he wasn’t acknowledged for his 100th catch is because no one respects him or likes him. He is a bitter, angry little boy and his mother obviously didn’t teach him how to play with others. He should take his attidude back to elementary school. The EAGLES is a team of men, it’s time to get rid of that immature little boy.

  12. Gilbert says:

    Terrell’s ego is his heart and soul, so the Eagles organization took it away from him by suspending him for the season. Now that his foot is in his mouth maybe this will give him time to think about how he just lost 1/2 of a season he will never get back… Im sure there are other franchises who would consider signing him, I give them fair warning… dysfunction leads to team destruction?

  13. Mike says:

    Does the word STUPID fit across his egotistical forehead? Should be tatooed on it. Terrell doesn’t have to worry about the bird flu, but foot-in-mouth desease is rampant and possibly BirdBrain Flu. The NFL is better off without him.

  14. Mike says:

    Does the word STUPID fit across his egotistical forehead? Should be tatooed on it. Terrell doesn’t have to worry about the bird flu, but foot-in-mouth desease is rampant and possibly BirdBrain Flu. The NFL is better off without him.

  15. Lee says:

    So T.O. is out for the rest of the season – Good for the Eagles! I have zero sympathy for that walking ego or for anyone who misses him. I’ve been wondering if there were any limits left in the win-at-any-cost, athletes-as-gods culture. This restores a little bit of my faith in professional sports, and maybe it gives us a glimmer of hope for the rest of society as well!

  16. ashley says:

    T.O. is equivalent to scum of the earth. He does not deserve to ever play another game in the NFL. I love to watch football players who actually care about the game, their teammates, and their fans. All T.O. could give a crap about his himself and the money he makes. I’m so glad he never came to Baltimore. What a mistake that would have been. I don’t care if we are not doing well this season. I would rather that, then to ever see T.O. in “our house”.

  17. Rick says:

    MY opinion is that T.O is capapable of being a sports legend. Just look at his stats. Hes broken incredible NFL records for recpetions and yardage. He is a top notch reciever, and he could certainly be the guy that every player and kid lookd up to. If T.O changed his attitude towards his teammates,fellow teams, and the entire NFL league for that matter, he could go down as an NFL hall of famer. Not just as a great reciever, but a great person and teammate. I think evreryone should put this emphasise on this, and tell him how he could be great instead of telling him how much of an a-hole he is

  18. Rick says:

    MY opinion is that T.O is capapable of being a sports legend. Just look at his stats. Hes broken incredible NFL records for recpetions and yardage. He is a top notch reciever, and he could certainly be the guy that every player and kid lookd up to. If T.O changed his attitude towards his teammates,fellow teams, and the entire NFL league for that matter, he could go down as an NFL hall of famer. Not just as a great reciever, but a great person and teammate. I think everyone should put this emphasise on this, and tell him how he could be great. To him it appears that he is doing nothing wrong.But maybe after his suspension he’ll realize all the bs hes caused. Maybe all he needs is a little wake up call

  19. Patrick says:

    Owens is the epitomy of NO-CLASS and doesn’t deserve to be called a “professional athlete”.

  20. Luis V says:

    Owens is a BUM! He has no business playing in the NFL. Heck he has no business working anywhere, could you imagine having to work with a person like that? I’m glad he’s getting what he deserves and I just hope nobody else signs him. Send a message to classless BUMS like him that that kind of behavior will not be tollerated. And yeah I guess the only ones who could be interested in him would be the lowlifes out there in Oakland.

  21. Matt says:

    Owens and Moss should enjoy a long season together on the raiders. Maybe the two of them can get in fights with one another and get suspended together.

  22. Pete says:

    I HATE TO he is on my fanasy team and know i have to drop him he deserves to be expelled from the NFL

  23. […] So we will wrap this up with some quick links: T.O put on T.O by the eagles […]

  24. Blogerrhea says:

    An Open Letter to Terrell Owens From Ed

    Dear Mr. Owens, I applaud you and your ability to stay current. You have proven beyond a shadow of doubt that sports are more important to the average American male than?well, everything else in the world. Granted, you tend to

  25. Mike says:

    T.O. is typical of the pro athletes I do not like to watch today. I hate their antics and strutting when they make a good play. I totally expect them to make those types of plays. To me, if they strut afterwards it means they were lucky and not good. If they were good the play would be attention enough for their tender little egos. The circus already has dibs on the clown acts.

  26. elaine says:

    terrell owens is a great player and a fierce force to deal with. he expresses how he feels without feeling that he must first check with someone i am a mother,grandmother and a eagle fan only because of T.O. most of my family are eagle fans for there own reasons.T.O. you will be missed if they do not allow you back in the game. i respect you and anyone who honestly speaks out(kanyae west)(warren sapp) just so you know these are a few of my favorite pepole right now in the entertainment and sports industries. you do not owe anyone an apology and if i were your mother i would be right there beside you, defending you just like mcnabs parents are doing with him. hang in there young man your great talent will be appreciated elsewhere at another time. use your money wisely for the media would love to strip you of everything. tks for your time . elaine as pudd from philly

  27. Ted says:

    Its a shame, that one of the most physical sports in the world that TO is being fired for being INSENSITIVE… how can there be such a thing in the world of Football. All of them from the hypocritical ESPN sports analysts, the Eagles organization {who are only using this TO suspension as a scapegoat because their team sucks w/ the loss of Donovan}.. Sports are always more interesting when you have an honest player like a T.O. whos not going to just going to say the expected…MY GOD THAT HAS GOTTEN SOOO BORING…most fans can darn-there answer the same old QA dribble given in sports interviews. What a bunch of sensitive wusses…

  28. BigRob says:

    Terrell WHO. I’m not even an eagles fan, and i felt bad for them that T.O. was tainting their team, hes got too much ego, hes a good receiver but his lack of self control and teamwork will keep him from ever becoming a great player, he may put up numbers but id like to see him take on any NFL team in any division by himself. A word of wise Mr. Owens…. SHUT THE HELL UP AND PLAY, you make more money then your worth, and its more than most will see in a lifetime, so shut up and be happy you disrespectful, egotistical, pre-Madonna.

  29. BigRob says:

    Oh yeah and HOW BOUT THEM COWBOYS 21-20 over the eagles, 6-3 NFC east

  30. Doc says:

    T.O. should take his time off to learn the word “humility”. Great people do not need their accomplishments celebrated. They do them and then move on to the next. They are grateful to those who help them achieve those goals. T.O. would never have achieved a 100th TD reception if there weren’t Quarterbacks throwing the ball, linemen blocking etc. As a leader I always talk to my troops about the teamwork concept. “We” are only as good as we say we are. If we bash our co-workers we only damage ourselves in the long run because people will view us they way we represent ourselves. Apparently T.O. has not learned this lesson. Another lesson he must learn is to do his job and let the management do theirs. If a team-mate is not performing well it is not the responsibility of the employee to rectify or criticise it is up to Management.
    While I do agree that everyone should have a right to express their dissatisfaction with their jobs, I think it should be kept within the “family”. The saying “we do not air our dirty laundry in public” comes to mind. T.O. grow up and be a man. Reading “If” by Rudyard Kipling might be a good start.