Should the Eagles re-negotiate with Terrell Owens? (No- Bellamy)

It just broke your little heart, didn’t it? And impoverished Eagles wideout Terrell Owens blubbered his way through a nationally televised interview, distraught at the paltry $49 million sum of the contract he signed last summer. His impassioned plea touched hearts everywhere, as he humbly asked merely for the necessary means to feed his children.

And he hasn’t stopped crying since.

Now, I’m not necessarily against holdouts in general. Sometimes, when a player is grossly underpaid and the team’s owner would rather pinch every penny before handing out a big contract, it’s hard to lay the blame with the player.

But this is ridiculous. The inmates, as they say, have taken over the asylum-“Natural Born Killers”-style.

Be it a certain controversial adulterer pushing his teammate and championship coach out of town, or a certain spoiled brat from a certain influential family refusing to play for the San Diego Chargers, athletes these days have turned the hierarchy on its ear. They want to run the show-and too often, they’re allowed to get away with it.

Maybe we should blame John Elway. After all, he may have ushered in this era when he refused to play for the Colts after they drafted him No. 1 in 1983. He certainly inspired Eli Manning, that’s for sure.

No one is arguing that Owens isn’t an elite receiver. He’s one of the top players in the NFL, regardless of position. And that’s why the Eagles gave him that $49 million contract last year. The fact that now, all of a sudden he thinks he’s underpaid, is absurd.

Owens had a great season last year, but he wasn’t any better or worse than he has been for the last five years. In fact, his numbers in 2000, 2001 and 2002 were better than his 2004 performance. His three-season average for those years was 97 catches, 1,387 yards and 14 touchdowns. And in two of those seasons, he only played 14 games, just like last season.

If T.O. felt he was worth so much more than the contract he signed last year, he should have done something about it back then-except, oh that’s right, he was too busy weaseling his way out of Baltimore, somehow conning the NFL into voiding a perfectly legitimate trade with the Ravens.

The bottom line is that Owens didn’t over-perform or under-perform last season and, on top of that, the Eagles got to the Super Bowl without him. T.O. has no ground to stand on.

I understand the business of the NFL. Every year, teams asked players to take pay cuts. But by and large, such requests (or demands) come after a player has under-performed. In the real world, however, you under-perform, you get fired.

If you under-perform in the NFL, your pay gets cut from a multi-million-dollar salary to…well, to a smaller multi-million-dollar salary. NFL players should feel lucky.

The situation, not just with T.O. but with athletes everywhere, has gotten out of hand. Athletes don’t and shouldn’t make the rules.

The Eagles have to play hardball on this-and early indications are that they will do just that.

The only fair thing for owner Jeffrey Lurie and Andy Reid (not just the head coach, but the executive vice president of football operations) to do is to just ignore him. If I’m Andy Reid, I say fine, Terrell. You want to hold out? Go right ahead. But we’re not paying you any more.

You can hold out all season, and we’re still not paying you. And we won’t trade you, either. You can sit out for the last six years of your contract if you want. But you’re either going to play for Philly or you won’t play at all.

Basically, give T.O. the finger.

And while you’re at it, Terrell, now that you’ve violated your contract, why don’t you send us back that $1.8 million bonus, huh?

When your contract runs out six years from now, Terrell, when you’re 37, then you’re free to do as you like. Knock yourself out. What’s the going rate for an old, aging, malcontent has-been anyway? Why don’t you ask Jerry Rice about that?

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