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Specter backs off T.O. investigation threat

WASHINGTON (Nov. 29, 2005) -- Sen. Arlen Specter backed off a threat to have a Senate subcommittee investigate whether the NFL and the Philadelphia Eagles violated antitrust laws in their handling of Terrell Owens.

Specter, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he talked to lawyers in the Department of Justice about the issue.

"I think it's more a matter for them than us because we've got ... a lot of matters which take precedence over this for our own time," said Specter, R-Pa.

Specter did not say whether the Justice Department indicated it will look into the matter.

Early next year, his committee will conduct a confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito.

On Nov. 28, Specter said it was "vindictive and inappropriate" for the league and the Eagles to prohibit the All-Pro receiver from playing and prevent other teams from talking to him, and he might refer the matter to the subcommittee. He added that he was "not a supporter of Terrell Owens."

The Eagles suspended Owens on Nov. 5 for four games without pay for "conduct detrimental to the team," and deactivated him with pay Nov. 27 after the suspension ended.

Arbitrator Richard Bloch said last week the team's actions were supported by the labor agreement between the league and the NFL Players Association.

The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2005, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved

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