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ESPN.com: T.O. suspension upheld


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Updated: Nov. 23, 2005, 1:56 PM ET

Arbitrator rules against T.O., upholds suspensionESPN.com news services

PHILADELPHIA -- An arbitrator has upheld the Philadelphia Eagles' four-game suspension of Terrell Owens, and the team has the right to deactivate him.

Arbitrator Richard Bloch heard more than 13 hours of arguments last week.

"The finding is that the club has shouldered its burden of proof of clear and convincing evidence of player misconduct in that the four-week suspension was for just cause," Bloch wrote in his decision. "Additionally, there was no inherent violation of the labor agreement in the club's decision to pay Owens but not practice or play him due to the nature of the player's conduct and its destructive and continuing threat to the team."

Owens' side had argued the penalty was excessive and the Eagles' plan, which is to deactivate him when that time is up, is too severe. Owens sought reinstatement to the Eagles or a release so he could sign with another team.

"We couldn't have written it any better ourselves," an Eagles official told ESPN's Sal Paolantonio.

The NFL also applauded the decision.

"We are pleased the arbitrator has upheld the right of a club to suspend a player for conduct detrimental to the team," a league statement said.

Owens was suspended Nov. 5 after he again criticized quarterback Donovan McNabb, called the organization "classless" and fought with former teammate Hugh Douglas, who serves as team "ambassador."

Two days later, the Eagles extended the suspension to four games and told Owens not to return to the team. The reigning conference champions are 0-3 without Owens and 4-6 overall, last in the NFC East.

Owens has five years remaining on a seven-year, $48.97 million contract that he signed when he came to Philadelphia in March 2004. His problems started when he demanded a new contract after an outstanding season in which he caught 77 passes for 1,200 yards and 14 touchdowns, helping the Eagles reach the Super Bowl.

With Owens, the Eagles are 17-5 over two seasons. Without him, they're 2-5, including two meaningless losses and two playoff wins.

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