Wide receiver Terrell Owens participated in the opening practice of training camp for the Philadelphia Eagles' veterans Tuesday at Lehigh University, hours after he and his agent met with club officials and neither side budged in the contract dispute in which they've been embroiled for months.
Owens and agent Drew Rosenhaus met with Eagles Coach Andy Reid and team president Joe Banner. The Eagles continue to refuse to renegotiate Owens's seven-year, $48.97 million contract after one season. Owens reported to training camp Monday evening after months of threatening to hold out if he didn't get a new deal.
"We understand his feelings," Banner said. "We're glad he's here. We're glad he's committed to focusing on football and trying to have a good year. Our position always has been that he has a contract and he needs to honor it, and that continues to be our position. . . . I do think it was important at this point that everybody needs to sit face to face and commit that there is a football side of it, and we share a common goal on that side of it."
Reid stopped short of declaring the meeting a step forward in the process of repairing the relationship between Owens and the team.
"We'll see how things go forward from here," Reid said. "Time will tell."
For a second day in a row, Owens refused to speak to reporters. He declined to answer questions as he walked off the practice field, then again as he exited the locker room. He maintained his silence even as, in a bizarre scene, he took a basketball out of his truck and shot free throws and three-pointers for about 15 minutes as dozens of media members looked on.
Owens showed no effects of last season's ankle injury during a relatively light opening practice that was closed to the public. Eagles fans will have their chance to voice their opinions about Owens during practices Wednesday that are open to the public.
Owens caught plenty of passes from quarterback Donovan McNabb, the target of some of Owens's verbal swipes during the offseason, but there was little interaction between them during the practice. Other Eagles players spoke to Owens and shouted encouragement during drills, and veteran defensive end Hugh Douglas called out as the practice wound down: "Where's Joe? I want to renegotiate for a package of Milk Duds and a box of crackers. And if I don't get it, I'm leaving camp."
All eyes will be on McNabb and Owens as camp proceeds.
"I do think it's important that there's a constructive, professional working relationship there," Banner said. "I don't think anybody thinks that everybody needs to be best friends."