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Owens Loses Arbitration Case

November 24, 2005|From the Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA — Terrell Owens was shut down completely: his grievance, his season, his tumultuous time with the Philadelphia Eagles.

It's all over.

For conduct proven to be a "destructive and continuing threat" to his team, an arbitrator ruled Wednesday that the Eagles were justified in suspending their Pro Bowl receiver for four games -- and are within their rights to deactivate him for the rest of the season.

The Eagles will now look to trade or release Owens before March, when he's due a $5-million roster bonus.

Arbitrator Richard Bloch wrote in his 38-page decision that there was "no violation of the labor agreement inherent in the club's decision to pay Mr. Owens, but not to permit him to play or practice due to the nature of his conduct and its destructive and continuing threat to the team."

After the ruling, the Eagles released a one-paragraph statement thanking Bloch for considering the matter and saying Philadelphia is looking forward to "moving on with our preparations for Sunday's game vs. Green Bay and the rest of the 2005 season and will have no further comment on this issue."

The players' association was so incensed, however, that Executive Director Gene Upshaw said he would have Bloch removed from the list of approved arbitrators next month when the union and management are given that option.

"He piled on," Upshaw said. "He went beyond what we have in the agreement. When I have an arbitrator go beyond the agreement, I have no choice."

Bloch heard more than 13 hours of testimony last week. Owens' side argued that the penalty was excessive and that the Eagles' decision to deactivate him was too severe.

Owens was suspended Nov. 5 after he again criticized quarterback Donovan McNabb, called the organization "classless" and fought with former teammate Hugh Douglas. Two days later, the Eagles extended the suspension to four games and told Owens not to return.

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