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Players union asks Eagles to reinstate Owens

NEW YORK (Nov. 9, 2005) -- The NFL Players Association wants the Philadelphia Eagles to cut Terrell Owens if they're not going to reinstate him after his four-game suspension is over.

"We're not asking them to play him; we can't force them to do that," Gene Upshaw, the NFLPA's executive director, said. "But if they're not going to let him come back to practice and do all the other things associated with that, then we want them to cut him, let him become a free agent now."

The union already has appealed the four-game suspension levied on the wide receiver by the Eagles for what coach Andy Reid called "a large number of situations that accumulated over a long period of time."

The appeal will be heard before arbitrator Richard Bloch on Nov. 19.

But Upshaw said that even if the suspension is upheld, the Eagles can't just tell Owens to stay away from the team and its practice facility.

"We are taking the position that's additional punishment," Upshaw told The Associated Press. "It's not fair to a player not to have an additional chance."

Upshaw differentiated between the Eagles' suspension of Owens and Tampa Bay's decision two years ago to make Keyshawn Johnson inactive for the final six games of the season. Johnson signed in 2004 with Dallas, for whom he now plays.

"There was no suspension there. A team has the right to inactivate a player for whatever reason it wants," he said. "But in T.O.'s case, this is a team suspension, not a commissioner's deal. They're different. When we bargained in those rules, there was a reason for it. The most a player can be suspended is four games. You can't go beyond that."

The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2005, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved

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