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Union files grievance for WR Owens

WASHINGTON (Dec. 6, 2005) -- The NFL Players Association filed a grievance against the Philadelphia Eagles, claiming the team had breached Terrell Owens' contract by trying to get back part of the wide receiver's signing bonus and by leaving him inactive for the rest of the season.

The union said the team was breaching the maximum discipline clause in its agreement with the NFL.

Owens was suspended for four games by the team after run-ins with quarterback Donovan McNabb and coach Andy Reid. The suspension was upheld in arbitration and the team has said it will make him inactive for the rest of the season.

But the union alleged that the Eagles request a return of signing bonus money constitutes "double discipline."

"The Eagles told Terrell, the arbitrator, and the media that Terrell would be paid for the balance of this year when he returned from his suspension, and now they are instead withholding his pay," Richard Berthelsen, the union's general counsel, said in a statement. "We therefore filed this grievance both for his protection and that of players generally, who deserve to have their CBA and their contracts enforced as written."

The Eagles reportedly informed Owens he must repay a majority of the signing bonus he received in March 2004. The team could withhold his pay the rest of the season because he never returned the signing bonus.

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