Owens continues feud with Ravens in new book

OWINGS MILLS - Philadelphia Eagles All-Pro wide receiver Terrell Owens renewed his verbal assault on the Ravens in a new book where he criticized Baltimore general manager Ozzie Newsome about a trade that was eventually nullified. <br><br> Besides alleging that the Ravens brokered a trade with the 49ers for a second-round draft pick behind his back and against his wishes, Owens wrote in "Catch This!: Going Deep with the NFL's Sharpest Weapon," that Newsome had violated a personal trust.

The Ravens (4-2) play the undefeated Eagles (6-0) on Sunday in Philadelphia.

"Ozzie, who'd asked me a couple of months earlier at the Michael Jordan celebrity golf tournament, if he could trust me," Owens wrote, "Oz was confused. He should have looked in the mirror and asked himself that question. He'd just committed the cardinal sin in T.O.'s book: he'd kicked the T word right in the teeth."

Owens also alleged that the Ravens' chief contract negotiator, Pat Moriarty, low-balled his agent in contract discussions, decreasing $10 million from a previous contract proposal.

When Owens' agent, David Joseph, allegedly informed the general manager that Owens could void the final two years remaining on his contract, the book quotes Newsome as saying: "I'll make T.O. love me. I'm gonna show him so much love that he won't know what to do. Everybody loves playing in Baltimore."

Owens, who co-authored the book, wrote that was when he decided to make the Ravens "so miserable they would never forget it." He complaining vehemently in several mediums that he didn't want to play with Ravens quarterback Kyle Boller and preferred to play with Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb.

Owens claims he hung up on Newsome when the Hall of Fame tight end and fellow Alabama native phoned him to try to resolve their issues.

Newsome issued a statement Monday through Ravens senior vice president of public and community relations Kevin Byrne in a response to Owens' published comments.

"Please, why should I have to respond to that?" Newsome said. "I did talk to T.O. One thing I told him is go talk to veteran players who have signed in the past. Go talk to Rod Woodson, Shannon Sharpe, Sam Adams, Michael McCrary. Ask them how we take care of veterans here."

Offensive guard Edwin Mulitalo said he has no hard feelings toward Owens over the noisy episode with the Baltimore front office. "I don't think he dissed us because everyone knew his intentions, but we tried to put the blinders on him to get him to come here," Mulitalo said. "I haven't read the book, but I know that he didn't want to be with us. You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink it."

Ultimately, the NFL management council and the players' union brokered a settlement to the dispute before NFL special master Stephen Burbank could issue a ruling that was expected to go in Owens' favor. Owens signed a seven-year, $49 million contract with Philadephia, including $16 million in signing bonuses.

Since then, Owens has caught multiple touchdowns from McNabb. And Baltimore has the lowest-ranked passing game in the NFL for the second year in a row.

Owens has made his share of enemies. He refuses to stop slamming Cleveland Browns quarterback Jeff Garcia, a former 49ers teammate, with repeated negative comments about Garcia's abilities and insinuations about his private life. During Sunday's 34-31 overtime win over Cleveland, Owens caught two touchdown passes. He also threw a football at one sign directed at him that read, "T.O. has B.O," and tore down another sign.

Several players said that the presence of Owens, who has a history of making derogatory remarks about linebacker Ray Lewis including repeated mentions of Lewis' murder trial in his book, wouldn't change the Ravens' approach.

"Everybody's still bitter or wants to make hype about this trade or what's going to happen or what didn't happen, or he said some things," said cornerback Chris McAlister while referring to fans and media. "It's not personal. It's just another football game. I get excited to go play on Sunday regardless of who I'm facing."

The Ravens lost to the Eagles during the preseason as Owens caught a long touchdown behind cornerback Gary Baxter to open the game. Afterward, both Lewis and Owens went out of their way in interviews to emphasize putting their feud in the past.

"It's about playing the Eagles, period," Lewis said Sunday. "God bless Terrell Owens. I don't hold anything against him. I wish him success and his team success, except against us. I'm against anyone not wearing my uniform. So, I'll be against him just like all the other Eagles."

Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times and RavensInsider.com


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