TO: Media trying to 'stir' more sniping
PHILADELPHIA -- Terrell Owens insists he's not looking back at his brief stint with Baltimore, even if the next chapter between the Eagles' receiver and the Ravens has yet to be written.
Owens said Wednesday it was an "offensive" racial comment by Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome that persuaded him to spurn an offseason deal to Baltimore, along with not wanting to play with Ravens quarterback Kyle Boller and a desire to play with Philadelphia's Donovan McNabb.
In his recent autobiography, Owens wrote that Newsome told the wide receiver's agent that, "He was a black man from Alabama just like TO" and that "sometimes a black man's gotta be slapped."
"Initially, I was kind of stunned by it," Owens said. "My agent was kind of reluctant to tell me about it at the time. What a lot of people don't know, and I guess I'll let it out now, is that was pretty much one of the main reasons I didn't want to go there."
Asked about the statement, Newsome, who also is black, said he didn't want to talk about it.
"Please, why should I respond to that? I did tell TO that he should check with the veterans we brought in over the years," he told The Baltimore Sun for Tuesday's editions. "I told him to call Rod Woodson, Shannon Sharpe, Michael McCrary and Sam Adams, and they will let him know how we treat veterans here."
Of course, even though he has criticized former teammate Jeff Garcia, danced on the Dallas Cowboys' star and now this, Owens wondered why these hot topics always arise as he prepares to play those teams.
He then found a reason, saying it's, "the media's way of trying to stir something" and that he knew, "They'd try and find something."
Finding something controversial about Owens is like trying to find a Space Needle in a haystack, especially when he writes about these issues without any prompting from anyone with a pen and notebook. Owens wondered why this particular excerpt was of any consequence only days before playing Newsome's Ravens.
"Why didn't they bring it up last week or the week before?" Owens said. "The book's been out.
"A lot of people are looking for me to fail. They're looking for some type of distraction."
Owens proclaimed he'd rather do his talking -- or is that writing, from someone who once yielded a Sharpie after scoring a touchdown? -- on the field.
After a paperwork problem prevented Owens from becoming a free agent, Baltimore acquired the outspoken receiver from the 49ers. But Owens protested the trade, refused to show up for a physical and insisted he wanted to play in Philadelphia.
The union then filed a grievance on Owens' behalf to make him a free agent and the three teams agreed to a trade before an arbitrator could rule on the case.
When the two teams played in the preseason, McNabb and Owens connected on an 81-yard TD pass on Philadelphia's first play.
The trade has worked out well for Owens, who has a team-best 34 catches for 596 yards and eight touchdowns for the unbeaten Eagles, while Baltimore (4-2) is 31st in the league in total offense.
"I'm just thankful that I'm here," Owens said. "That's what I fought for. I knew for me to be productive and play like the receiver that I knew I can be, then I had to be put in the right situation. I'm just thankful for Donovan and our progress."
Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press