Owens should honor contract with Eagles

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 14, 2005

My boss came to me a few months ago and offered me a seven-year contract that paid $7 million a year. Not only couldn't I believe it, he threw in a $10 million signing bonus.

I asked him, "What's the catch?" He said he just wanted me to do my job and do as I was asked as long as it pertained to my job.

Things were going great until a week ago when the managing editor said he had some new story ideas he wanted me to do. I didn't agree with his suggestions and told him that I'm the sports writer and I'll write what I want. Then I told him not to talk to me unless I talk to him first.

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Well, my boss called me into his office and informed me that I was the employee no matter what amount of money he was paying me in salary. He suspended me and sent me home.

Since I'm me and I make a lot of money, I have to be right. I became indignant and badmouthed my longtime photographer Kent Sanborn.

"We'd have won first place in the AP contest for best sports layout if someone didn't fold in the cold weather and take some better pictures," I said.

All of this sounds familiar if you're following the train wreck story in Philadelphia that is better known as Eagles wide receiver Terrell Owens and his demands for a new contract to replace the one he signed last season.

More important than sounding familiar, the whole thing sounds ridiculous.

Number one, I agreed to the terms. No one had a gun to my head and forced me to sign the contract, whether it was with a pen or a Sharpie marker.

Secondly, if I thought I should be paid more since I had the potential for a great season, then maybe I should have signed a one-year contract.

Do you think that maybe the $10 million signing bonus was the compensation in the event I had a better year than the one before?

Owens had great years in San Francisco. In his last four seasons he had 97 catches for 1,451 yards, 93 for 1,412, 100 for 1,300 and 80 for 1,102. After becoming a disruption, he badmouthed quarterback Jeff Garcia - he questioned the sexuality of a man who was dating a Playboy bunny - and orchestrated his way out of town.

Sound familiar?

After one good season in Philadelphia, Owens is badmouthing quarterback Donovan McNabb and screaming for more money or a ticket elsewhere.

A radio talk show host last week said the Eagles should pay Owens and get him back in camp because they couldn't win without him.

In the two previous seasons without Owens, the Eagles reached the NFC title game. They did the same last year and they did it with Owens on the sidelines recovering from a broken leg.

And this time they won.

Owens came back against doctor's orders and played in the Super Bowl. Owens had a great game, but, news flash, the Eagles still lost.

The Eagles will win with or without Owens. He's a very good talent, but there are plenty of great wide receivers.

While the Tribune would probably collapse without my services (what's all that laughing I'm hearing?), the Eagles will continue to play. If history has taught us anything, the world continues no matter who retires, sports included.

The Eagles management and head coach Andy Reid claim they will stick to their guns in the Owens' matter. I certainly hope so.

As for my own situation, I wrote this story after I woke up from my lucrative dream.

Jim Walker is sports editor of The Ironton Tribune.