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I am sure Owens will be happy with whoever they have at QB.

Probably as much happy as Coles with his role as #2 (at best).


Owens on the radar

With Edwards as point man, Jets won't rule out run at receiver

Thursday, November 10, 2005


Star-Ledger Staff

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. -- Disgruntled and dysfunctional wide receiver Terrell Owens to the Jets?

Don't dismiss the idea that the team could make a bid for the talented-but-troubled Owens when the Eagles jettison him, as expected, following the season, according to a person with knowledge of the Jets' thinking.

The offensively challenged Jets are desperate for a big-time playmaker and coach Herman Edwards fashions himself as the Father Flanagan of the NFL. He can relate to players like few coaches can and is a firm believer in second chances (although this would be a third or fourth chance for Owens). The Jets would likely offer an incentive-laden deal -- perhaps for one year -- with protection clauses for the club.

"You never say never," the person said yesterday. "I'll tell you one thing, Herm isn't afraid of the guy. He has done it before. He had Dale Carter in Kansas City. He had Quincy Carter last season. Josh Evans. Herm can handle him."

Last off-season, the Jets inquired about then-Vikings wayward wide receiver Randy Moss before he was dealt to Oakland. And Edwards is credited with helping Jets defensive end John Abraham straighten out his life when he had off-the-field problems.

Edwards refused to comment on Owens yesterday, saying it would be tampering.

Of course, bringing in a controversial and divisive player such as Owens would be a huge gamble, but the Jets need a game-breaker on offense, and Owens will need a team. And teams around the NFL won't exactly be ringing agent Drew Rosenhaus' phone off the hook this off-season.

"T.O. will be 32 years old," the person said. "He knows the Jets would be his last stand. If he can't play for Herm, he can't play for anybody. Everybody in the league knows that. His career would be over."

Edwards, a former player, is probably one of the few coaches Owens would respect. Edwards, who is also black, has shared some of the same life experiences that have shaped Owens -- for better and for worse -- and could probably help him.

And Owens could help the Jets. Their offensive woes run deeper than the quarterback position. They haven't had a Pro Bowl wide receiver since Keyshawn Johnson left after the 1999 season. Current starters Laveranues Coles (41 catches, 449 yards, two TDs) and Justin McCareins (20-380-0) aren't bad, but neither is close to the level of Owens, a five-time Pro Bowler.

The Jets' uncertainty at quarterback would be a deterrent to Owens, but Edwards is a heck of a recruiter. And the club plans to bring in a quality veteran quarterback -- via free agency or a trade -- to challenge Chad Pennington and his twice surgically repaired rotator cuff in training camp next summer. It's unlikely the Jets will draft a quarterback in the first round and wait two years for him to develop.

Of course, Edwards and Owens would have to sit down and have a long talk before any decision is made. Edwards did the same with Evans and Carter before the Jets signed them, and most teams wanted nothing to do with either player. Edwards is hands-on in cases like this. He doesn't leave it up to the players to police themselves in special circumstances. Last season, he met with Carter once a week. He also had a close relationship with Evans.

Carter, however, had a drug relapse late in the season and entered rehab. Evans was suspended four games in 2003, as a member of the Jets, for failing a drug test. Even so, Edwards is apparently undaunted and still has a soft spot for troubled players.

The Jets, who have a good relationship with Rosenhaus, could probably get Owens for next to nothing from the Eagles. Owens has a clause in his current deal in which the team can recoup $1.725 million of his signing bonus if he's suspended for more than one game for conduct detrimental to the team. The Eagles are expected to invoke that clause.

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