COPY-T.O. Apologizes: Hopes to Return to Eagles

Moorestown, N.J. (AP)_A contrite Terrell Owens, hoping to overturn his dismissal from the Philadelphia Eagles, on Tuesday apologized to coach Andy Reid, quarterback Donovan McNabb, the team's owner and president, and fans.


"As you know, I have been suspended and I told that I cannot play football for the rest of the season. I am a football player and this is what I do," said Owens, reading a prepared statement. "It really hurts me not to be part of the team anymore. I came here to help the Eagles get to the Super Bowl and win the big game.

"When I got hurt last year, and everyone said my season was over, I fought hard to prove the world was wrong and do everything possible, including risk my career, to help the Eagles win the Super Bowl.

"And I think the mentality that I have, my greatest strength can also be my greatest weakness. I'm a fighter -- I've always been and I'll always be. I fight for what I think is right. In doing so, I alienated a lot of my fans and my teammates.

"To those fans who supported me through these tough times, I thank you for your support. To every single Philadelphia Eagles fan out there that cheered for me, I want you to know that I am sorry this has happened. To you, I apologize.

"To my teammates, a lot of you have been a friend to me and I appreciate that. I can't tell you how much I wanted to fight along your side to take this team to victory. It was very painful for me not to be there with you against the Redskins last weekend, and it was more painful for me now that I won't be there with you Monday night.

"Also, I would like to reiterate my respect for Donovan McNabb as a quarterback and as a teammate. I apologize to him for any comments that may have been negative.

"To my head coach, Andy Reid, I owe you an apology. You and I were in a tough spot this year. I know you were just trying to coach this team and we did not see eye to eye sometimes. On the practice field and on game day, you knew you could count on me to give my very best. We had a lot of wins together, and I thank you for that. I respect you as a coach and as a person.

"To Joe Banner (team president) and Mr. (Jeffrey) Lurie (Chairman/CEO), I understand that all along you were trying to do what you believed was in the best interest of the team, the Philadelphia Eagles. I apologize to the both of you.

"As I said before, this is very painful for me to be in this position. I know in my heart that I can help the team win the Super Bowl and not only be a dominant player, but also be a team player. I can bring that.

"In closing, I want everybody to know that football is my passion. I've always given it my all and I will continue to do so."

His agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said Owens was making a public apology in hopes of returning to the Eagles immediately.

Owens on Monday was told by the team not to return this season. The decision resulted from "a large number of situations that accumulated over a long period of time, during which Terrell had been warned repeatedly about the consequences of his actions," Reid said.

The All-Pro wide receiver didn't play in Sunday night's 17-10 loss at Washington, and will remain suspended for three more games without pay. After that, the Eagles plan to deactivate him for the rest of the season.

He was suspended Saturday, two days after he said the Eagles showed "a lack of class" for not publicly recognizing his 100th career touchdown catch in a game on Oct. 23. In the same interview with on Thursday, Owens said the Eagles would be better off with Green Bay's Brett Favre at quarterback instead of McNabb.

Owens apologized specifically to Reid, McNabb, Eagles president Joe Banner, owner Jeffrey Lurie and to fans.

To McNabb, Owens said, "I apologize to him for any comments that may have been negative."

AP contributed to this report