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Owens leaves Eagles camp after spat

BETHLEHEM, Pa. (Aug. 10, 2005) -- Terrell Owens got T.O.'d -- as in Thrown Out of training camp.

The All-Pro wide receiver was asked to leave Philadelphia Eagles camp Aug. 10 after a heated exchange with coach Andy Reid, making it the latest curious twist in a controversial career.

This time, there were no Sharpies or desperate housewives.

Instead, Reid asked the injured Owens to leave after their discussion, according to Owens' agent, Drew Rosenhaus, and his publicist, Kim Etheredge. Owens was asked to return Aug. 17.

"I got sent home until Wednesday for whatever reason," Owens told Comcast SportsNet for a TV interview at his home in Moorestown, N.J. "It was just a difference of opinion. I was defending myself."

With reporters camped on his lawn and helicopters hovering overhead while Owens played basketball and lifted weights, the circus scene only magnified the distraction Owens has become to the NFC champions. While Owens was an instant fan favorite last year after helping the Eagles reach the Super Bowl, he's caused constant headaches for management because of his demand for a new contract.

Now comes this.

Comcast SportsNet reported the disagreement occurred during a team meeting. Owens then got his belongings and cleared out of training camp at Lehigh University. Hours after testing his injured groin on a separate playing field from his teammates, Owens was at home.

"If the truth needs to be told, then that's what I'll do," Owens said. "If he (Reid) wants me to be a man about it and have me really go on the air and really tell the people what happened, then I can. It was a difference of opinion."

The Eagles responded with a brief statement:

"Terrell Owens has been sent home from training camp due to undisclosed team issues. He is expected to return to the team on Wednesday, August 17th."

Rosenhaus said: "Basically, the coach told him he should take a rest and get some rehab and (Reid) would get back to him in a few days."

Owens is unhappy the Eagles have refused to redo his contract as he enters the second season of a seven-year, $48.97 million deal. He hired Rosenhaus and threatened to skip camp completely. Instead, Owens reported, then injured his groin Aug 4.

He was day to day and the injury wasn't considered serious, but he missed practice Aug. 10 for the fifth time in six days.

While the rest of the team practiced, Owens worked out with the team's assistant trainer for about 20 minutes, catching balls from a machine and doing some light running. He did not speak to reporters or acknowledge the fans who chanted his name.

Owens also skipped a scheduled autograph session with the rest of the Eagles' receivers after practice.

"He was unable to attend because he was injured," Etheredge said.

Since arriving at Lehigh, Owens has been distant on the field with his teammates. After signing autographs and slapping hands with fans on a nearly daily basis last year, Owens has jogged on and off the practice field, barely acknowledging their chants and screams.

"Just because I don't talk to everybody, that's up to me," Owens said. "Everybody needs to understand the situation is all business, it's nothing personal. The situation is between me and management. They know what's going on.

"I think some people are kind of ticked off because I haven't really said much. They don't pay me to go in there and talk to everybody and be friendly to everybody. They paid me to play and they paid me to perform. That's what I've been going in there and doing."

The Eagles had a special teams practice in the afternoon and Owens was not required to attend.

Last season, Owens had 77 receptions for 1,200 yards and a franchise-record 14 touchdowns before severely injuring his ankle late in the season. He missed the final two regular-season games and the first two playoff games before returning for the Super Bowl, in which he had nine receptions for 122 yards.

Owens was flamboyant and fun, quick with a quip and a big catch while giving Donovan McNabb the No. 1 receiver the offense has desperately needed. After an eight-year career in San Francisco where his antics -- including pulling a Sharpie from his sock and autographing a football; posing on the Cowboys' star at midfield in Texas Stadium; and waving a cheerleader's pompoms -- often overshadowed his success.

The one blip in Philadelphia came for his role in a steamy segment with Desperate Housewives actress Nicollette Sheridan for an introduction to Monday Night Football.

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