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TO to look for his own trade

Guest FishFanInPA

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Guest FishFanInPA

The Eagles may not release Terrell Owens after all.

Instead, they want to trade the star wide receiver coach Andy Reid banished from the team in early November, and they believe they have a decent chance to do so.

A league source said today that the Eagles plan to give Owens' agent Drew Rosenhaus permission tomorrow to seek a trade for the receiver. The source said multiple teams have expressed interest in Owens, including the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New York Jets.

Rosenhaus, who was not immediately available for comment, has orchestrated trades before, including the deal that sent running back Clinton Portis from Denver to Washington for cornerback Champ Bailey before the 2004 season and the one that sent running back Reuben Droughns from Denver to Cleveland for defensive linemen Ebenezer Ekuban and Michael Myers before this season.

Exactly what the Eagles can get for Owens will depend on a couple of things. The primary one is the level of interest teams such as the Bucs and Jets have in the controversial wide receiver.

Owens infuriated the Eagles during his second season with the team after his attempt to renegotiate a seven-year contract was rejected.

If multiple teams want Owens badly enough, it would obviously increase the value of what the Eagles could get in return.

The other key factor is whether the interested teams can negotiate a new deal with the receiver. There was some thought that Owens might have to sign a short-term deal with a modest signing bonus that is loaded with incentives. But there's obvious interest in his immense talent even after his disruptive behavior with the Eagles led to his dismissal from the team.

Despite playing in only seven games, Owens still led the Eagles with 763 receiving yards and six touchdown receptions.

Owens received $8.5 million in bonus money after he joined the Eagles in 2004. His relationship with the team turned sour in the off-season because he felt this year's $3.25 million salary was not sufficient compensation for his performance during his first season with the team. Owens fired former agent David Joseph in late March and hired Rosenhaus, triggering months of controversy that eventually led to him being suspended without pay and essentially thrown off the team.

Arbitrator Richard Bloch denied a grievance filed by the NFL Players Association on Owens' behalf in November, which cost the receiver nearly $765,000 in pay. Another grievance has since been filed by the NFLPA on Owens' behalf because the team is trying to recover $1.725 million in bonus money.

The Eagles believe Owens violated the terms of his contract when he failed to show up at a mandatory post-draft camp last April.

The Eagles withheld Owens's pay for the final five games and counted it against that money. A hearing date has not yet been scheduled for that grievance, and none is expected at least until later in the year.

Tampa Bay, which was shut down by the Washington Redskins during its wildcard playoff loss on Saturday, would have an explosive receiving tandem with the addition of Owens. Speedster Joey Galloway led the Bucs with a career-high 1,287 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns, but Tampa Bay still finished 25th in the league in passing yards.

The Jets, meanwhile, ranked 28th in passing, although much of their problem revolved around the fact that they did not have a suitable replacement once starting quarterback Chad Pennington went down.

Whatever the Eagles could get for Owens would certainly be better than getting nothing, which, in retrospect, is what they gave up to get him.

When the Eagles acquired Owens in a controversial three-team trade that followed an arbitration hearing at the University of Pennsylvania, they gave the San Francisco 49ers defensive end Brandon Whiting and the Baltimore Ravens a fifth-round pick.

Whiting, unable to overcome a serious shoulder injury, is out of football. The Ravens traded the fifth-round pick they got from the Eagles to the Miami Dolphins, who selected Tony Bua, a safety who finished the season as a member of the Cincinnati Bengals' practice squad.

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