Owens inks 1-year, $6.5M deal with Bills

Updated: March 8, 2009, 1:20 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Terrell Owens needed only two days to find another place to play.

The Buffalo Bills decided to take a chance on the talented but high-maintenance receiver, signing Owens to a $6.5 million, one-year deal Saturday. ESPN.com's John Clayton broke the story on Saturday.

Owens, 35, caught 69 passes for 1,052 yards and 10 touchdowns last season with Dallas. But the Cowboys were looking to improve the atmosphere in the locker room and decided they would be better off without him.

"I'm leaving America's team [for] North America's team," Owens said at a news conference.

The Bills will be Owens' fourth stop. He started with San Francisco, bounced to Philadelphia -- where he helped the Eagles get to a Super Bowl -- and then to Dallas.

"I must move on, and it's another beginning for me," Owens said. "If I can be that extra added piece to get them to the playoffs, then that's what I'm here for. I looked at the defensive side of ball and offensive side of the ball, and these guys have all the pieces."

The Bills were in need of a receiver to take the pressure off Lee Evans. They got one of the biggest names out there.

"We all know of his tremendous ability and look forward to what he will bring to our offense," Bills owner Ralph Wilson said in a statement. "This is a very exciting day for the Buffalo Bills."

Owens, a six-time Pro Bowler, is among the NFL's career leaders in catches, yards and touchdowns. Over the last three years, his 38 touchdowns are one more than Randy Moss and he's among the league's best in catches, yards, yard per catch and yards per game.

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He's coming off the ninth 1,000-yard receiving season in the last 11 years.

"We got one of the premier playmakers in a playmakers league," Bills chief operating officer Russ Brandon said.

For the Bills, the signing is their biggest splash since acquiring quarterback Drew Bledsoe in a trade in 2002. Team officials flew to Miami Saturday morning, flew back to Buffalo with Owens and agent Drew Rosenhaus, and signed the deal in the late afternoon at Bills headquarters.

"'Wow!' was my first reaction," Evans said. "I know we were looking at some different receivers out there. When he was cut by the Cowboys, I didn't know if we were going to make the move for him or not. We did and it worked out. I'm very excited for everybody."

The question now is how T.O. will deal with Trent Edwards, who is only entering his second full year as starter. Jeff Garcia, Donovan McNabb and Tony Romo have all had dicey relationships with Owens. Edwards isn't nearly as accomplished as any of those players and the Bills' offense has been abysmal in recent years.

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"I am really excited about the addition of Terrell Owens to our team," Edwards said. "We spoke earlier and both look forward to working hard this offseason. We share the common goal of winning football games. His ability and experience will add to our offense and the weapons we already have."

The Bills were 25th in the NFL in yards gained and failed to have a 300-yard passer. Buffalo has ranked 25th or lower in each of the past six seasons in total offense.

"I'm looking forward to getting together with Trent, Lee and the guys and putting some points on the board," Owens said. "That's what I've done everywhere I've been, and it's going to continue."

Coach Dick Jauron has often complained about the Bills' lack of scoring punch, but this represents a serious change in philosophy for a team that in the past has tried to avoid taking on disruptive locker room personalities.

Owens, though, isn't worried about his perceived selfishness in Dallas.

"That's all hearsay," Owens said. "If you look at all the comments coming from my teammates with the Cowboys the last three years, it's all been positive. Prior to that, I really don't want to get into it."

Owens becomes the Bills fourth free agent addition this offseason. Buffalo has also signed cornerback Drayton Florence, backup quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and former Panthers offensive lineman Geoff Hangartner.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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