Owens, who helped lead the Eagles to the Super Bowl in his first
season in Philadelphia, is looking to renegotiate the seven-year
deal worth almost $49 million he signed last March.
"This is not about me being greedy or selfish," Owens told The
Philadelphia Inquirer for Thursday's editions. "I was called
selfish for trying to come back and play in the Super Bowl. I just
want people to think about what they're hearing from all these
reports about me being greedy. Just take a moment and look at my
stature in the game."
Owens set team records with 14 touchdown receptions and seven
100-yard games, and finished with 77 catches for 1,200 yards. He
broke his leg and severely sprained his right ankle in Week 15
against Dallas, an injury that sidelined him until the Super Bowl.
Owens defied his doctor's advice by returning to the starting
lineup against New England just 6½ weeks after ankle surgery, and
was Philadelphia's best player on offense. He caught nine passes
for 122 yards in the Eagles' 24-21 loss to the Patriots.
Owens fired longtime agent David Joseph and hired Drew
Rosenhaus, who met with Eagles president Joe Banner last week. Last
year, Joseph failed to file papers that would have made Owens a
free agent from San Francisco. Instead, Owens protested a trade
from the 49ers to Baltimore, refused to show up for a physical and
eventually the three teams agreed to a trade before an arbitrator
could rule on the case.
Rosenhaus, in an interview with Dan Patrick on the Dan Patrick Show on ESPN Radio, said Owens was forced to take a "sub-standard deal" with the Eagles.
"The NFL got him out of the trade [to Baltimore]," Rosenhaus said. "They brokered a deal to the Eagles, but he had to take a sub-standard deal because he had no leverage."
"Everyone knows my former agent settled for a low-ball number
because of my situation last season when Baltimore traded for me,"
Owens said. "He told me he couldn't get a cent more, knowing I
deserved more than they gave me.
"They used their leverage to strong-arm us because they knew I
wanted to leave Baltimore for Philadelphia, and they capitalized on
it. I can't go for that now. It's not in me to do that."
According to Rosenhaus, the contract Owens signed "sounds great on paper, but in the first two years of the deal he is not even in the top ten highest paid receivers in the NFL."
Eagles defensive end Hugh Douglas told ESPN Radio on Thursday night that he disagreed with Owens' desire to have his contact re-negotiated.
"I don't agree with [re-negotiating a contract] because I believe that when you sign a contract you're bound by that contract," Douglas said. "He's doing what he feels he needs to do, but I do believe that if you sign a contract you should honor that contract whatever circumstances you signed it under."
The playmaking, showboating, brash-talking Owens lived up to his
hype in Philadelphia, delivering everything from his innovative
touchdown celebrations to his outrageous antics -- including a
steamy segment with actress Nicollette Sheridan for an intro to
"Monday Night Football."
"I know I'm a top player in the game, and my current contract
doesn't justify that," Owens said. "The fact that I signed this
contract, that I'm under contract, doesn't factor into anything
when it comes to the National Football League. [The Eagles] can cut
me anytime they want to -- even if I'm performing well, I'm healthy
and I'm putting up numbers, just because they don't want to pay a
player that money.
"If they can do what's best for their financial future, then
why can't I?"
Rosenhaus echoed Owens' comments, pointing to teams' ability to part ways with players despite signing them to long-term contracts.
"He was nothing short of remarkable last year with the Eagles," Rosenhaus told Patrick. "He absolutely outperformed his deal. I've had many players ... [who] have been cut when they underperformed despite having just did a multi-year deal the year before like Hugh Douglas with the Jaguars.
" ... Why can't we say that he outperformed this deal which was done under poor circumstances. What's wrong with that?"
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.