-- Wide receiver Terrell Owens reported to training camp on time with the Philadelphia Eagles Monday, walking purposefully into a brick dorm on the campus of Lehigh University about an hour before the evening deadline. But Owens's summer of discontent with the reigning NFC champions isn't over, as he and agent Drew Rosenhaus are scheduled to meet with Eagles Coach Andy Reid and President Joe Banner on Tuesday.
Owens drove into the parking lot adjacent to the players' dorms just after 6 p.m., wearing a green camouflage shirt and cap, with headphones over his ears. He didn't speak to reporters and soon headed off to a 7 p.m. team meeting, leaving Rosenhaus to address the large gathering of media members.
"He's here," the Miami Beach-based agent said. "All the talk, all the rhetoric from the offseason is history. He's not happy with his contract, but he's a professional. He will work hard and play hard and do his very best. . . . You never say never, but we're not here to negotiate in bad faith or threaten to walk out. I don't anticipate that."
Owens helped the Eagles reach the Super Bowl last season after being acquired in a trade and signed to a seven-year contract worth nearly $49 million. He was one of the league's top players before his regular season was cut short by a severe ankle injury, and he returned ahead of schedule to play superbly in the Super Bowl with a metal plate and two screws in his right ankle.
But the controversial wideout spent the offseason in a public feud with the Eagles. He and Rosenhaus asked the team to renegotiate his contract. Owens took some verbal swipes at quarterback Donovan McNabb's Super Bowl performance and said that he wouldn't mind being traded.
He and Rosenhaus threatened that Owens would hold out from training camp without a new contract. But the Eagles didn't budge. A holdout by Owens would have given the Eagles a chance to attempt to force him to return the bulk of the $2.3 million signing bonus he received last year.
Rosenhaus and Owens almost certainly will make a renewed pitch for a revised contract Tuesday in their meeting with Reid and Banner, but it does not appear that the Eagles are willing to negotiate. Reid's policy in the past has been to meet with any player who shows up after a contract dispute, wanting to make sure the hard feelings are put in the past.
Even so, Rosenhaus said: "I'm happy we have a dialogue, and that's part of the reason he's here. . . . It may not happen tomorrow. It may not happen in a week. But I'm confident at some point we'll work something out with this team. . . . The best way to phrase it is: He's not happy with his contract. But if that gets addressed, he's just fine. We want to work with the team to make it work here."
Rosenhaus pointed out that he completed lucrative contract extensions for two of his previously disgruntled clients, New Orleans Saints cornerback Mike McKenzie and Arizona Cardinals wideout Anquan Boldin, over the weekend. Many players represented by Rosenhaus were embroiled in offseason contract disputes, but all reported to their training camps on time. That was more than could be said for two other key Eagles veterans unhappy about their contracts: Tailback Brian Westbrook and defensive tackle Corey Simon were no-shows Monday.
"My personal opinion is that holdouts are not effective," Rosenhaus said. "It's one thing to do it in the offseason, but not in the season."
Reid faces the task of trying to ensure that any friction between Owens and McNabb or between Owens and the rest of the club doesn't ruin the Eagles' season. As they checked in to camp Monday afternoon, Eagles veterans said that wouldn't happen.
"That's between Donovan and T.O.," wide receiver Greg Lewis said. "Between me and Donovan, we're cool. Between me and T.O., we're cool. . . . We've been through turmoil before. The guys all fight through it, and we continue to win games."
Middle linebacker Jeremiah Trotter said he remained in touch with Owens during the offseason. He could offer pertinent advice, having been through a bitter contract dispute with the Eagles when he left the team after the 2001 season, only to return last season.
"That's the nature of the business," Trotter said. "You know you're going to have contract disputes. I look forward to seeing T.O. and talking to him. We're going to need him. . . . He changes the game. He's a difference-maker. . . . I've been there. I can relate to what he's going through right now. I can talk to him and relate. It's a tough business, and that's the way it goes. . . . When you step on the field, it's got to be all about football."