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T.O. to Baltimore a Done Deal?


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ESPN.com news services

It appears that Terrell Owens won't be the only party attempting to nullify the trade that sent him from the 49ers to the Baltimore Ravens.



The NFL Players Association plans to file what is known as a "special-master case" in the next few days to nix Thursday's trade and have Owens declared a free agent, union chief Gene Upshaw told The Washington Post for Sunday's editions.



Upshaw said Sunday he has informed Harold Henderson, the league's executive vice president for labor relations, of his intention to try to undo the Pro Bowl wide receiver's trade.



Upshaw and Henderson, who also serves as chairman of the NFL Management Council, were scheduled to meet Sunday, according to The Post.



Upshaw said that if the matter can't be resolved, the union will ask Stephen Burbank, who is in charge of settling disputes regarding the NFL's collective bargaining agreement, to have Owens' contract voided so he can be declared a free agent.



Upshaw declined to comment further.



NFL spokesman Greg Aiello confirmed that Henderson has spoken to Upshaw about the case but said there has been no resolution.



A special-master case is a trial-like proceeding and differs from the usual grievance process, in which the parties present their cases to an arbitrator.



Burbank, who is in charge of settling disputes regarding the league's collective bargaining agreement, would then have the power to void Owens' current deal, making it possible for the receiver to negotiate with any team he chooses, the newspaper reported.



"We think, at this point, that's the only case we can file," Upshaw said. "That's what we'll do the early part of next week. I want to talk to Harold Henderson in the early part of next week to see if there's something the parties can work out short of that proceeding. If not, that's what we'll do."



In the interim, the Ravens will also likely have a chance to rescind the trade. Owens is scheduled to report to the Ravens on Monday to take a physical, but a source told The Post that Owens will refuse to show up.



Since all players must pass a physical before their trade can be completed, the Ravens could choose to overturn the trade or waive that provision if Owens fails to take the exam.



The Ravens, if the trade is nullified, would have the second-round pick in the upcoming draft -- which they sent to San Francisco for Owens -- returned to them. At that point, Owens would also become an unrestricted free agent.



The Ravens say they expect Owens to wear their uniform this season.



"We made a trade that was OK'd by the NFL," Ravens spokesman Chad Steele said Sunday. "We have a valid contract with Terrell and we expect him to play for the Ravens this season."



Owens failed to become a free agent when he and his agent, David Joseph, missed a Feb. 21 deadline to exercise a clause in Owens' contract that would void the final three seasons of his deal.



Owens said in an interview with ESPN on Friday that he wants to play for the Philadelphia Eagles, who are desperate for No. 1 receiver.



Owens' agent, David Joseph, did not immediately return a phone call from The Associated Press on Sunday.



The Eagles reportedly agreed to a contract with Owens that included a signing bonus believed to be worth about $10 million and would have paid Owens more than $6 million a year. That deal was supposed to be a precursor to a trade that would have sent Owens from San Francisco to Philadelphia in exchange for a fifth-round draft pick and likely wide receiver James Thrash.



But Owens was traded to the Ravens for a second-round pick Thursday before Philadelphia could complete a trade with the 49ers.



Under Owens' current contract, he is due to make $17.7 million in base salary over the next three seasons -- $5.3 million next season, $5.9 million in 2005 and $6.5 million in 2006. The Ravens said Thursday they would try to negotiate a new deal with Owens, but those efforts have been impeded by the Eagles' proposal, according to the Post..



Upshaw refused to elaborate on the details of the union's case Sunday, but a source familiar with the proceedings told the Post that the union will concede that the receiver's agent, Joseph, made a mistake by failing to file the paperwork in time to make Owens a free agent.



According to the Post's sources, the union intends to argue that Owens should be declared a free agent because it had been known his intention was to leave the 49ers.



League sources, however, have said the NFL considers Thursday's trade legal and a done deal, and sees no reason to overturn it.



According to the terms of the NFL's collective bargaining agreement, the special master's decision is subject to review by U.S. District Judge David S. Doty, who over sees the CBA.



Owens caught 80 passes for 1,102 yards and nine touchdowns last season -- his lowest totals since 1999. He has been selected to the last four Pro Bowls but has feuded with teammates, coaches, the 49ers' front office and the media.



He has 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 is known for a series of on-field celebrations and off-field conflicts. 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 chastised by commissioner Paul Tagliabue, who said he would be disciplined for any future stunts.


geez. You got your #2 option. It's not like you landed in oakland or Houston or something. just accept it. this team is going to be great without you anyways, TO. You go to them, they have a very legitiamte super bowl shot, even though its still early

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