Owens calls criticism of agent 'utterly ridiculous'
Owens, a four-time Pro Bowl receiver, is still under contract to the 49ers after his agent missed the NFL deadline for notifying the team of his intention to void the final three years of his deal. Owens and agent David Joseph claim they weren't told that the deadline had been moved up 10 days to Feb. 21.
"I can assure you that neither my agent nor myself made a mistake like this," Owens told Sporting News Radio on Friday. "For people to go out and say my agent made a mistake is utterly ridiculous and insane."
Owens said neither he nor his agent ever received notification of the advanced deadline. Joseph has filed a grievance with the NFL Management Council through the players' union, but a hearing hasn't been scheduled.
Owens hoped to land a big contract as an unrestricted free agent, but unless Thursday's league ruling is overturned, the 49ers will be free to keep Owens' rights or trade him. San Francisco officials had no comment on the situation Friday.
Owens criticized the 49ers for showing "no loyalty" and ripped team consultant Bill Walsh during the interview, but didn't rule out returning to his only NFL team.
"With these distractions going on, I'm going to prepare myself harder than I ever have," Owens said. "I don't foresee myself being in San Francisco, but if that's the case, they know the type of player they are going to get.
Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press