Terrell Owens was suspended by the Philadelphia Eagles on Saturday for conduct detrimental to the team, a catch-all sanction that team officials imposed after deliberating much of Friday over how to address the latest flap involving their loquacious wide receiver.
Owens, who blasted the organization on Thursday for not publicly recognizing his 100th career touchdown catch two weeks ago, will miss the Eagles’ key Sunday night game against the Washington Redskins.
It is uncertain when — or if — he will return to the team.
Under terms of the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement, a player can be suspended for a maximum of four games for conduct detrimental to his team. It remained unclear if the Eagles have fined Owens; a team source declined to address any financial element of the disciplinary action. A fine would cost Owens $191,176 for every game he misses, based on his salary of $3.25 million for this season.
It is not certain if Owens, who was suspended for a week during training camp, will appeal the latest sanction by Eagles officials. Agent Drew Rosenhaus did not immediately return messages Saturday afternoon.
Rookie Reggie Brown, a second-round draft choice, is expected to replace Owens in the starting lineup when Philadelphia (4-3) meets Washington (4-3) in Sunday night’s important NFC East game (ESPN, 8:30 ET).
Critical of quarterback Donovan McNabb and the organization during an interview Thursday with ESPN.com, Owens issued a private apology Friday to teammates, followed by a public apology in which he read a terse statement. One team source said Saturday, though, that Owens’ apologies failed to fully comply with all of the conditions that team officials, including coach Andy Reid, had stipulated.
Even after his apology, team officials told ESPN.com on Friday afternoon and reiterated later in the evening that the situation with Owens was still under review and hinted that a suspension remained a possibility. Said one team official at the time: “All options remain on the table.”
Owens was upset that the organization did not publicly recognize his 100th career touchdown catch Oct. 23 at home against the Chargers.
“That right there just shows you the type of class and integrity that they claim not to be,” Owens, who became the sixth receiver in NFL history to reach the milestone, told ESPN.com. “They claim to be first class and the best organization. It’s an embarrassment. It just shows a lack of class they have. My publicist talked to the head PR guy, and they made an excuse they didn’t recognize that was coming up. But that was a blatant lie. Had it been somebody else, they probably would have popped fireworks around the stadium.”
Owens, who is unhappy with his contract, also told ESPN.com he wants to remain in Philadelphia but doesn’t think that will happen.
The Eagles spent considerable time Friday speaking with league officials and clarifying through the NFL Management Council various options. Owens was unavailable to the media after his public apology, but he did make his weekly appearance on a Miami radio station.
“Hey, if I am [suspended], I am,” he said. “That would be a discredit to the team and obviously it would hurt the team. It would be a sad situation.”
The suspension culminated another week of unrest with Owens. Early in the week, he apprised Philadelphia officials that he had sprained his ankle in last Sunday’s loss to the Denver Broncos, and might require some time off. One day later, he was back at practice and seemingly prepared to play against the Redskins, at least before the latest incendiary incident.
In seven games this season, Owens has 47 catches for 763 yards and six touchdowns.
This is the second time Owens has been suspended during his controversial 10-year career. While a 49er in 2000, he was suspended one game by San Francisco coach Steve Mariucci following his touchdown celebrations on the Cowboys’ star logo at the center of Texas Stadium.