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