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Eagles say Owens won't return this season

Terrell Owens can take his touchdowns and dance somewhere else. The tempestuous star receiver won't return to the Philadelphia Eagles this season -- or probably ever -- because of "a large number of situations that accumulated over a long period of time," coach Andy Reid said.

PHILADELPHIA (Nov. 7, 2005) -- Terrell Owens can take his touchdowns and dance somewhere else.

The tempestuous star receiver won't return to the Philadelphia Eagles this season -- or probably ever -- because of "a large number of situations that accumulated over a long period of time," coach Andy Reid said.

Owens was suspended for the Nov. 6 game at Washington, and will remain suspended for three more games without pay. After that, the Eagles plan to deactivate him for the rest of the season.

Reid said the outspoken player "had been warned repeatedly about the consequences of his actions."

"We gave Terrell every opportunity to avoid this outcome," he said.

Owens was suspended Nov. 5, two days after he said the Eagles showed "a lack of class" for not publicly recognizing his 100th career touchdown catch in a game played Oct. 23. In the same interview with on Nov. 3, Owens said the Eagles would be better off with Green Bay's Brett Favre at quarterback instead of Donovan McNabb.

Owens also was involved in a fight last week with former Eagles defensive end Hugh Douglas, who remains with the team as its "ambassador." Owens apologized for his comments about the organization in a brief statement Nov. 4, but he didn't apologize to McNabb or the team.

"The league has been notified by the players' union that they will be grieving our right to take that action," Reid said, "therefore there is nothing more that I can say at this point."

After the announcement, Owens summoned police to his house in Moorestown, N.J., because there were some people on his property. Owens said he wanted to be left alone, had no comment and would contact the news media when he did want to speak, police at the scene said.

Later, two pizzas were delivered to Owens' home. Someone answered the door -- not Owens -- and gave deliveryman James McDevitt a $5 tip. McDevitt said he left the tip on the door step.

Owens' agent, Drew Rosenhaus, refused to comment. Owens' relationship with the Eagles took a drastic turn after he fired longtime agent David Joseph, hired Rosenhaus and demanded a new contract only one season into the seven-year deal he signed when he came to Philadelphia in March 2004.

Owens helped lead Philadelphia to the Super Bowl last season.

Owens will be traded or released after the season. He is due to receive a seven-figure roster bonus in March 2006, so the Eagles will decide his fate before then.

Two years ago, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers decided they'd had enough of Keyshawn Johnson and did something similar.

After Johnson criticized coach Jon Gruden, the Super Bowl champion Bucs deactivated the star receiver and sent him home for the final six games with pay.

The Eagles are 4-4 this season. And McNabb, who feuded with Owens throughout the summer and has been a constant target of his criticism, finally took a stand in the matter, saying the team might be "better off" without Owens.

"Obviously it is tough losing a guy of his caliber, his ability, but I think we might be better off," McNabb said after an interception sealed the loss to Washington.

"I think what we did tonight, we showed that we played well together. I think we also showed that when given the opportunity, guys can make plays for us. We're 4-4. We're not 1-7. I think that's the way to look at it. For the guys in the locker room, we win together and we lose together," he said.

Asked to elaborate on how the team could be better off without its top receiver, McNabb emphasized the remaining players are united with the same goal of winning.

"Nothing against him and his attitude. It's just that when you get out there on the field, it's about playing together," McNabb said. "I think we all played with a lot of attitude and a lot of adrenaline. Guys played well together. It was unfortunate that we didn't win this game, but I think it may be a steppingstone for us to move forward."

Rookie Reggie Brown filled in for Owens against Washington and caught five passes for 94 yards, including a 56-yard TD reception. But the Eagles offense continued to struggle and couldn't score the tying touchdown with three shots from the Redskins 7 in the final minutes.

The Eagles are 17-5 with Owens, including a 24-21 loss to New England in the Super Bowl. In that game, Owens had nine catches for 122 yards after defying his doctor's advice and playing 6½ weeks after ankle surgery.

They're 2-1 without him in games that matter, winning twice in the NFC playoffs.

This was the second time Owens has been suspended during his controversial 10-year career. In 2000, he was suspended one game by San Francisco coach Steve Mariucci following his infamous touchdown celebrations on the Dallas Cowboys' star logo at the center of Texas Stadium.

Owens clashed with management this summer and earned a one-week exile from training camp after a heated dispute with Reid that followed a shouting match with offensive coordinator Brad Childress.

Owens forced a trade to the Eagles last year after eight seasons with the 49ers and invigorated the offense with his superior skills. He had 77 catches for 1,200 yards and 14 TDs in 14 games, helping the Eagles to a 13-1 start and nine victories by double-digit margins.

The bad blood between Owens and McNabb began after Owens went down with a severely sprained ankle and broken leg in Week 15 against Dallas. Owens was upset that McNabb and other players said the Eagles could reach the Super Bowl without him, which they did.

Soon after Philadelphia lost to the Patriots, Owens took his first shot at McNabb, suggesting the five-time Pro Bowl quarterback was tired in the fourth quarter of the loss.

McNabb responded harshly and the two didn't speak for a prolonged period in training camp. They eventually reconciled their relationship and performed well together on the field -- Owens has 47 catches for 763 yards and six TDs this season.

However, Owens continued to throw verbal jabs at McNabb during his weekly radio show or whenever he granted interviews.

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