Owens: 'I still believe I deserve a new contract'
Terrell Owens apparently will be at Eagles camp after all.
A day after hinting that he would agree to a trade because of a contract dispute, Owens told the Philadelphia Inquirer he would report to training camp on Aug. 1 at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa.
2004 SEASON STATISTICS Rec Yds TD Avg Long YAC 77 1200 14 15.6 59 404
The controversial wide receiver told the newspaper he remains unhappy with his seven-year, $49 million contract and that he wouldn't mind being traded.
"I'll be there," Owens told the Inquirer on Friday. "I mean, the bottom line is that I still believe I deserve a new contract. I still believe I deserve more than what they've given me. But I'm not stupid. I'm not about to miss training camp, get fined every day and give them even more reasons to keep from paying me.
"I'll be there but I won't be happy, I can tell you that much. Take from that whatever you want," he said.
However, Drew Rosenhaus, Owens' agent, said Friday in a taping for ESPN's NFL Live that the report in the Philadelphia Inquirer which quotes Owens as saying he would attend training camp "is not definitive."
Rosenhaus told The Associated Press that he hopes to work out a fair-market deal for his client.
"We hope it's something we can work out with the Philadelphia Eagles," Rosenhaus told The Associated Press, adding he had talked recently with the Eagles. "If it's something we can work out with another team, that is not something we are opposed to."
He acknowledged that the Eagles have told him they aren't interested in trading the receiver.
"We have not received permission to seek a trade," Rosenhaus said.
Responding to comments made by Eagles president Joe Banner in Thursday's Philadelphia Daily News that Owens and Rosenhaus "don't think in common-sense terms," Owens told Comcast SportsNet Southeast in Atlanta that the Eagles could just trade him.
Banner was on vacation and unavailable for comment Friday.
"If he feels that way, then get rid of me," Owens said Thursday. "He wants to talk about Drew and I. If we're problems, then ... trade me, release me. And we can just part ways like adults.
"What it all boils down to is I'm going to do what's best for my family. I don't even have to play for the Eagles, to be honest. I can go play with any other team and still be productive," he said.
Owens, who helped the Eagles reach the Super Bowl in his first season in Philadelphia after eight years with San Francisco, is asking for a new contract a year into a seven-year deal worth almost $49 million.
Rosenhaus said earlier this week that Owens was "50-50" about reporting to training camp and no decision would be made until the start of camp.
The Eagles have said they won't redo Owens' contract.
Banner told the Daily News he hoped Owens would report on time.
"If we were dealing with somebody who was looking at this logically and was going to come to a commonsense conclusion, you'd say [he would report]," Banner said. "But you're dealing with two people here who, frankly, don't think in common-sense terms. Anything can happen. They're not going to necessarily do what makes sense."
Owens defied his doctor's advice by returning to the starting lineup against New England just 6½ weeks after ankle surgery and was Philadelphia's best player on offense. He caught nine passes for 122 yards in the Eagles' 24-21 loss to the Patriots.
His outrageous personality, flashy touchdown celebrations and deep-ball ability made Owens an instant fan favorite in notoriously fickle Philadelphia. Public sentiment has turned against him, though, with fans flooding talk radio that he's gotten greedy and that the Eagles could win a Super Bowl without him.
Rosenhaus defended his client, saying fans should not have any ill will toward Owens because the renegotiation process was strictly a business decision.
"This is something that is of great urgency and importance to Terrell," he said. "He hasn't looked to offend anybody. The last faction he want to offend is the Philadelphia Eagles fans. This is not personal.
"I'm confident once we get this resolved, he will go back to the status he previously enjoyed," he said.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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