Eagles still unsure if Owens will show
6/9/2005 4:29:53 PM
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - The Philadelphia Eagles still don't know if Terrell Owens will show up for training camp after he held out from off-season minicamps because he wants to renegotiate the seven-year deal worth almost $49 million US he signed in March 2004.
Coach and general manager Andy Reid said Thursday it's been a few weeks since he talked to Drew Rosenhaus, Owens' agent, but the Eagles stance hasn't changed. They're not willing to renegotiate a new deal for the receiver who helped lead them to the Super Bowl.
Owens says he simply wants to be paid like one of the top players in the game.
"It's a pretty simple process. Either T.O.'s going to show up or he's not going to show up. He's going to play or he's not going to play," Reid said. "I've said this before, would we like to have T.O.? Sure. We'd like to have him. Can we plug somebody else in there and still win Super Bowls? Yeah, absolutely we feel that way."
The Eagles so firmly believe in their system after four straight NFC title game appearances that almost all the players are interchangeable.
Reid said Owens, Rosenhaus and any other contract issues will not become a distraction.
"I think the team showed that last year, that they won't let things bother them and they won't this year," he said. "I'm not worried about that at all. Drew has to do what Drew thinks is right."
The Eagles have not ruled out bringing in other receivers if Owens has a prolonged holdout. The Eagles have released former first-round pick Freddie Mitchell, though his impact was minimal.
While the Eagles may not rework Owens' deal, Reid said they are hoping to sign running back Brian Westbrook to a long-term deal.
Westbrook signed his one-year contract tender last week and remained hopeful a long-term deal will be in place before the season starts.
He said his new agent, Fletcher Smith, was in Philadelphia on Thursday to meet with management.
Westbrook would like at least a five-year deal before the start of the season and hoped showing up was a sign of good faith. Westbrook had skipped the Eagles' post-draft minicamp and did not want to sit out again.
"With me not coming to minicamp, the first one, it was tough to get a deal done," he said. "I definitely want to get it done before training camp and hopefully it will."
The versatile Westbrook is coming off a breakout season in which he led the team with 1,515 total yards and was tops among NFL running backs with 73 catches for 703 yards and six touchdowns, despite being held out of the last two regular season games.
While Reid wished the focus was on training camp and Philadelphia's attempt to return to the Super Bowl - something that has become increasingly difficult for recent NFC champions - he understands why players want their money.
"Anytime you go to the Super Bowl, whether you win or lose, you're going to have contract issues come up. That's just the name of the game," Reid said.
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Reid and Co. are toeing the line much like I thought. We'll see what happens.