Originally created 03/16/04

Arbitrator hears Owens appeal

PHILADELPHIA -- Terrell Owens will learn Tuesday whether he is headed for the Baltimore Ravens next season or will become a free agent.

Stephen Burbank, the arbitrator for disputes between the NFL and its players' union, heard two hours of arguments from lawyers Monday concerning the star wide receiver.

Owens, who has spent eight sometimes controversial seasons with San Francisco, was supposed to become a free agent March 3. But his agent, David Joseph, failed to file papers voiding the final years of his contract by a March 21 deadline.

The NFL ruled he belonged to the 49ers, who traded him to Baltimore for a second-round draft choice. Owens said he did not want to play for the Ravens and the NFL Players Association appealed, contending Owens should become a free agent.

Owens has said he would like to play for Philadelphia and reportedly had settled on a $10 million signing bonus with the Eagles in expectation he would be traded there.

The Ravens have said they will renegotiate his contract, although they are under no obligation to do so if Burbank rules in their favor.

The case before Burbank, a University of Pennsylvania law professor, was argued by Gregg Levy for the NFL and Jeffrey Kessler for the union. Burbank said he will rule Tuesday.

Others at the hearing included Harold Henderson, the NFL's executive vice president for labor relations; Gene Upshaw, executive director of the union; John York, owner of the 49ers; and Dick Cass, incoming president of the Ravens.


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