Cant beat them on the field this year, so why not take it off the field.Just when it seemed as if the Terrell Owens' situation was finally starting to settle down, yet another sub-plot has emerged — one involving tampering between division rivals.
FOX NFL Sunday has learned that the Philadelphia Eagles have filed a tampering charge with the NFL against Cowboys owner Jerry Jones for comments he made this week regarding Dallas' penchant for going after players with baggage such as Owens.
The claim was filed early this week and then Eagles owner Jeff Lurie phoned NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue to follow up on the matter. The Eagles were informed that the league office will be looking into the situation.
The charge stems from comments Jones made on a radio show this week when asked about the possibility of picking up Owens.
"I'm avoiding, deliberately avoiding, saying whether or not the Cowboys would be interested. He's a player that is a competitive player. He's an outstanding addition to an offense. ... In general, I am a risk-taker. We've gone down that road. We've had some situations that worked and some that didn't. Alonzo Spellman had a great year with us. Alonzo certainly had some issues. ... I probably have a propensity to try and make things work. ... We've got a quarterback in Bledsoe who is arguably as fine a long-ball thrower as there is in the league. A top receiver could flourish with Drew Bledsoe. That's always appealing."
Under normal circumstances the Eagles would seem to have little chance of getting the league to levy a punishment on Jones and it still may, however, there is yet another twist that makes the Eagles case a bit stronger.
FOX Sports has also learned that the league office last week sent a memo to all teams specifically warning them from direct or indirect contact with Owens as well as talking about the possibility of picking up the controversial All-Pro weapon.
Both the memo and the tampering charge were issued prior to arbitrator Richard Bloch's 38-page decision earlier in the week that sided with the Eagles on all accounts of the Owens matter. It's unclear whether the Eagles continued their complaint after Bloch's ruling made the issue moot.
The penalty for tampering is wide-ranging, with the worst being loss of draft picks. However, that is usually reserved for extreme cases. In this case, Jones never mentions Owens by name, although it's clear he isn't deflecting interest.
Prior to the decision, however, there was rampant speculation inside the media regarding the potential landing spot for the beleaguered wide out. Many believed that Owens would actually be a free agent sometime this season, a notion that was knocked out when Bloch ruled the Eagles were not required to allow Owens use of the facility even after his suspension.
Can this saga get any better?