Hot Topic and Player Notes: Eagles

War Nest
Posted Nov 7, 2005


The Eagles will decide this week whether wide receiver Terrell Owens will play for the team again this season. The club suspended Owens indefinitely Saturday for conduct detrimental to the team after he criticized the Eagles and their quarterback, Donovan McNabb, in a national television interview.

Head coach Andy Reid suspended Owens after he refused to apologize privately to the team, including McNabb, before it left for Sunday's game in Washington against the Redskins.

"We'll meet in the next few days, and Andy will figure out where we go from here," Eagles president Joe Banner said. "He indicated he'd talk to Terrell early in the week to give him a definitive status report."

On Sunday, former Eagles player Hugh Douglas, now a broadcaster and team "ambassador," said that he and Owens had a locker room scuffle on Wednesday. No punches were landed, Douglas said.

It is extremely unlikely that Owens will play for the Eagles again this season. And there is almost zero chance of the team keeping him beyond this season. He is due a $7.5 million roster bonus in March. Team sources say the club has no intention of paying him.

Without Owens, the Eagles managed just one touchdown and 17 first downs in a 17-10 loss to the Redskins that dropped their record to 4-4 and put them in last place in the NFC East.

"It's not good that he's not here," wide receiver Greg Lewis said. "I wish he was here because he's close to me and he's a great player. But he's not here right now, so we have to go with what we've got."

The Eagles' three wideouts, Lewis, rookie Reggie Brown and Billy McMullen, combined for 13 catches for 211 yards against the Redskins. But Brown was the only one of the three who could find the end zone, scoring on a 56-yard catch and run in the first quarter.

The Eagles offense suffered a further blow in the first half when tight end L.J. Smith suffered a concussion that knocked him out of the game. Without Owens and Smith, the Redskins were able to key on running back Brian Westbrook, who was held to 79 rushing and receiving yards on 21 touches.

"T.O.'s a big part of the offense and an explosive player," said McMullen, whose three catches against the Redskins were one more than he had in the Eagles' first seven games. "It does matter if he's out there, but we're just going to keep on playing. T.O. is a big part of the offense, and we'd love to have him back."

That isn't likely to happen unless he is willing to make a heartfelt apology to his teammates.

REPLAY

Eagles coach Andy Reid finally found some balance in his offense, running the ball 23 times Sunday against a Redskins defense that gave up 206 rushing yards to the Giants' Tiki Barber the week before.

But Philadelphia only managed 45 yards with those 23 rushing attempts, and the Eagles suffered their third loss in the last four games, 17-10.

Playing without star wide receiver Terrell Owens, who was suspended for conduct detrimental to the team, and tight end L.J. Smith, who left the game in the second quarter with a concussion, the Eagles were held to just one touchdown for the third time this season.

Quarterback Donovan McNabb completed 22 of 35 passes for 304 yards. But he couldn't find anybody open on a pivotal fourth-and-4 play at the Washington 7-yard line with a minute and a half left in the game, and Ryan Clark intercepted his pass.

PLAYER NOTES

--TE L.J. Smith suffered a concussion in the second quarter against Washington and had to leave the game. His status for Monday night's game against Dallas is uncertain.

--QB Donovan McNabb, who has been playing all season with a sports hernia, seemed to move around pretty well Sunday. He completed 22 of 35 passes for 304 yards, and he even ran the ball three times for 12 yards.

--K David Akers kicked for the first time in five weeks. He had been sidelined with a torn hamstring. Akers, who didn't handle kickoffs, had a 34-yard field goal against Washington.

--TE Stephen Spach got his most extensive playing time of the season after L.J. Smith left the Washington game in the second quarter with a concussion. Spach had two catches for 14 yards.


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