T.O. apologizes, but Eagles won't take him back

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Oct 14, 2005

Terrell Owens wants to return to the Eagles, but the team won't have him.

A contrite Owens, hoping to overturn his dismissal from the Philadelphia Eagles, on Tuesday apologized to coach Andy Reid, quarterback Donovan McNabb, the team's owner and president, and fans in news conference in front of his home.

ESPN's Sal Paolantonio spoke to a top Eagles official, who told Paolantonio that Owens will not be rejoining the team. The official added that even if Owens' suspension is not upheld by an arbitrator, Owens will still not play for the Eagles this season.

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said Tuesday that the players' union has filed a grievance on behalf of Owens seeking to overturn the suspension. It will be heard Nov. 18 before arbitrator Richard Bloch.

His agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said Owens was making a public apology in hopes of returning to the Eagles immediately.

"We hope he plays again for the Philadelphia Eagles," Rosenhaus said. "We hope he plays right away. We hope he plays against the Dallas Cowboys" on Monday night.

Owens on Monday was told by the team not to return this season. The decision resulted from "a large number of situations that accumulated over a long period of time, during which Terrell had been warned repeatedly about the consequences of his actions," Reid said.

"I fight for what I think is right. In doing so, I alienated a lot of my fans and my teammates," Owens said, reading a statement outside his house in Moorestown, N.J., outside Philadelphia.

"This is very painful for me to be in this position," he said. "I know in my heart that I can help the team win the Super Bowl and not only be a dominant player, but also be a team player. I can bring that."

The All-Pro wide receiver didn't play in Sunday night's 17-10 loss at Washington, and will remain suspended for three more games without pay. After that, the Eagles plan to deactivate him for the rest of the season.

Owens was suspended Saturday, two days after he said the Eagles showed "a lack of class" for not publicly recognizing his 100th career touchdown catch in a game on Oct. 23. In the same interview with ESPN.com, Owens said the Eagles would be better off with Green Bay's Brett Favre at quarterback instead of McNabb.

Owens apologized to the organization for making those comments, but didn't address McNabb, even though the statement he read from included a direct apology to the five-time Pro Bowl quarterback.

This time, Owens said he was sorry not only to Reid and McNabb, but also to Eagles president Joe Banner and owner Jeffrey Lurie.

"I would like to reiterate my respect for Donovan McNabb as a quarterback and as a teammate," Owens said. "I apologize to him for any comments that may have been negative."

The Eagles are 4-4 this season and last in the NFC East. Last year, they were the top team in the conference, going 13-3 on the way to the Super Bowl.

"It really hurts me not to be part of the team anymore," Owens said. "I came here to help the Eagles get to the Super Bowl and win the big game."

Owens' relationship with the Eagles took a drastic turn after he fired longtime agent David Joseph, hired Rosenhaus and demanded a new contract just one season into the seven-year, $48.97 million deal he signed when he came to Philadelphia in March 2004.

While Rosenhaus spoke to reporters and refused to answer several questions, Owens stood stoically alongside a burly bodyguard.

He flashed his trademark smile and winked at a reporter who asked Rosenhaus what he's done for his client other than have him kicked off the team.

Rosenhaus skipped over that question and criticized the media for being "unfair" to Owens.

"There are players in the NFL that are arrested who violate the program when it comes to drugs and substance abuse and they are not punished as severely as him," Rosenhaus said.