Owens got his wish to play for the Eagles, following a
settlement reached Tuesday before an arbitrator could rule on the
star receiver's case to become a free agent.
Owens' deal with the Eagles is for seven years and $42 million, reports ESPN.com's John Clayton.
"I'm so excited to be here and to play with D-Mac," said
Owens, who has played with McNabb in the Pro Bowl three times. "I
feel like I fit in real nice here. I'm comfortable with the West
Coast offense. The touchdowns I've had in the Pro Bowl, Donovan has
thrown them to me. That just comes with two athletes going out
there and making plays, just chemistry in the making."
The Eagles sent a fifth-round draft pick to Baltimore and
defensive end Brandon Whiting to San Francisco. The Ravens got back
the second-round pick they sent to the 49ers for Owens.
"If the arbitrator ruled he was a free agent, he could have
gone anywhere. This was the Eagles assuring that he came to them,"
said Gene Upshaw, executive director of the NFL Players'
Owens, who spent eight sometimes controversial seasons with San
Francisco, was supposed to become a free agent March 3. But his
agent, David Joseph, failed to file papers voiding the final years
of his contract by a Feb. 21 deadline.
The 49ers then dealt the four-time Pro Bowl receiver to the
Ravens on March 4, after Owens had agreed to a contract with the
Owens protested the trade to the Ravens, refused to show up for
a physical and insisted he wanted to play for the Eagles. The union
filed a grievance on Owens' behalf to make him a free agent.
"My heart was in Philly," Owens said.
Stephen Burbank, the arbitrator for disputes between the NFL and
its players' union, heard two hours of arguments from lawyers
Monday concerning the case, but didn't issue a ruling because a
compromise was reached.
The Ravens said they hoped to get Owens.
"Our collective mind-set is to improve this team," coach Brian
Billick said. "We'll keep doing this through the draft, free
agency and in other ways. It's a disappointment to not get T.O.,
but I'm confident in our abilities to raise the Ravens to the next
Owens gives the Eagles and McNabb the No. 1 receiver the offense
has desperately needed. Owens has averaged 93 receptions, 1,316
yards and 13 touchdowns over the past four seasons while feuding
with teammates, coaches, the 49ers' front office and the media.
He caught 80 passes for 1,102 yards and nine TDs last season,
his lowest totals since 1999. The Eagles' starting receivers, James Thrash and Todd Pinkston, combined for 85 receptions for 1,133
yards and three TDs.
"It's a nice addition to a good football team," Eagles coach
Andy Reid said. "To put him in the mix, it presents itself to be
an explosive package."
Owens spent all eight of his NFL seasons with the 49ers, who
drafted him in the third round in 1996. He and Indianapolis' Marvin Harrison are the only receivers with more than 5,000 yards and 50
touchdowns over the past four seasons.
Owens' antics on and off the field have tainted some of his
Two years ago, he pulled out a pen and signed a ball after
scoring a touchdown in Seattle. He wasn't fined for the move, but
was severely chastised by commissioner Paul Tagliabue, who said he
would be disciplined for future stunts.
Owens once precipitated a melee during a game by dancing on the
Dallas Cowboys' star at midfield of Texas Stadium after scoring.
He threw a sideline tantrum during a game against Cleveland last
season, and lost it again the following week against Minnesota,
chewing out offensive coordinator Greg Knapp after the 49ers were
stopped on a fourth-and-1 running play.
"A lot of people get it misconstrued as far as my passion on
the field and my personality off the field," Owens said.
Asked if he would bring some of those touchdown celebrations to
Philadelphia, Owens smiled and looked at the stoic Reid.
"Coach said he liked the pom-poms," Owens said, referring to
when he grabbed pom-poms from a cheerleader and did a cheer after a
The Eagles tried to work out a trade with the 49ers when Owens
wasn't declared a free agent. San Francisco general manager Terry
Donahue said Reid first offered a fifth-round draft pick and
Thrash. Donahue said Reid rejected counteroffers, so the team
traded Owens to Baltimore.
"I like Brandon Whiting," 49ers coach Dennis Erickson told ESPN.com. "We needed a defensive end and we think he will help us."
Owens is the second major addition this month for Philadelphia,
which went 12-4 last season and lost the NFC championship game for
the third straight year. The Eagles signed three-time Pro Bowl
defensive end Jevon Kearse to a $66 million, eight-year contract on
the first day of the free agency period.
The Eagles have lost five-time Pro Bowl cornerback Troy Vincent
(Buffalo), running back Duce Staley (Pittsburgh) and linebacker
Carlos Emmons (New York Giants), and stand to lose former Pro Bowl
cornerback Bobby Taylor.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.