Owens unhappy with trade to Ravens

OWINGS MILLS – Regardless of whether outspoken All-Pro wide receiver Terrell Owens is furious about being traded to Baltimore, the Ravens legally obtained and own his contract rights.<br>

The Ravens swapped a second-round draft pick to the San Francisco 49ers to acquire the four-time Pro Bowl selection on Thursday. Meanwhile, reports out of Philadelphia allege that the disgruntled receiver and his agent had already reached a new contract with the Eagles when they were surprised to learn that 49ers general manager Terry Donahue had traded him to the Ravens.

Owens taped a national television appearance on Friday where he said he didn't want to play for the Ravens. Owens wasn't an unrestricted free agent because his agent missed a deadline to file paperwork to void the final three years of his contract.

"Right now, Terrell Owens is kind of unemployed at the moment," said Owens, who created a lengthy history of controversy in San Francisco with his flamboyant end-zone celebrations and nasty spats with coaches and teammates. "I don't have anything bad to say about Baltimore. And Baltimore was definitely one of my choices, but they weren't high on the list. 

"My priority was trying to get to the Eagles. We were a matter of minutes away from getting something done and that's when the 49ers and Donahue got wind of that and sent me to Baltimore."

Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said he hadn't seen any of the reports, but emphasized that he plans on keeping Owens to upgrade the lowest-ranked passing offense in the NFL last season. Newsome said he continued to negotiate a contract extension with Owens' agent, Dave Joseph, Friday afternoon.

"He was San Francisco's player to trade and now we have his rights to do whatever we want to do with him," Newsome said. "We want him playing for us."

Joseph has reportedly told league officials that Owens plans to file a grievance against the 49ers. The NFL Players Association said no grievance has been filed, and the Eagles said they don't plan to file one, either.

One published report said that Owens had struck a deal with the Eagles that included a $10 million signing bonus and an annual salary exceeding $6 million.

The fact is, though, Philadelphia never had a formal, written deal with the 49ers or ratified a pact with the NFL management council as Baltimore did. The 49ers reportedly reneged on a verbal agreement with the Eagles and shipped Owens and his considerable amount of baggage to Baltimore in exchange for the 51st overall draft selection.

"I've talked to Ozzie a few times the last couple of days," Owens said. "Honestly, I didn't really feel comfortable with our conversation. He knows I'm really not happy with the situation. I'm going to stand my ground and see if we can't get something resolved." 

Owens has yet to take a physical to make the trade official, but Ravens officials said they expect him to be introduced in Baltimore at a press conference next week.

When asked to characterize Owens' reaction to the trade, Newsome said: "The guy is a Baltimore Raven. I've probably got 15 or so disgruntled players that are Baltimore Ravens right now, but that's just par for the course. What Terrell told me is, ‘Y'all got a lot of good things going on in Baltimore and I would like to be a Baltimore Raven.'"

Owens also complained about the trade on his Web site (www.terrellowens.com), causing a stir with Baltimore fans before the transcript was taken off the player's message board.

Under his current deal, Owens is due to earn $5.3 million next season, $5.9 million in 2005 and $6.5 million in 2006.

The Ravens don't have to give Owens a new contract, but said they will pay him based on his lofty production: an average of 92.5 receptions for 1,316 yards and 12.8 touchdowns over the last four years.

"I just talked to David," Newsome said, "and we're going to keep talking."

Owens has intimated that his strained relationship with the 49ers was the motivating factor behind the deal.

"I want to go where I feel comfortable and where I can be happy," Owens said. "I don't want to go anywhere where someone just trades me off to. Obviously I want to get paid, but at the same time, I want to get happy too."

NOTES: Offensive tackle Orlando Brown has visited the Oakland Raiders and may visit the Miami Dolphins.

"That's okay," said Newsome, who added that Baltimore has no weekend visits or Monday visits planned. "They told us that they were going to do that." …

Leigh Steinberg, the agent for former San Diego Chargers defensive end Marcellus Wiley, said that the Ravens are interested, but no visit has been set up yet. He said the Jacksonville Jaguars, Dallas Cowboys and Atlanta Falcons are other potential suitors. Wiley has visited the Seattle Seahawks. …

Agent Vann McElroy said the Ravens had an interest in former 49ers cornerback Jason Webster as potential nickel back. Webster signed with the Atlanta Falcons on Friday. …

Joel Segal, the agent for quarterback Anthony Wright, said he is having "positive" talks with Baltimore, but said other unspecified teams are interested. Wright is slated to be Kyle Boller's backup if he returns.

Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times.

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