PHILADELPHIA — Terrell Owens' season is effectively over after an arbitrator ruled Wednesday that the Philadelphia Eagles were justified in suspending him for four games.
Arbitrator Richard Bloch wrote that the Eagles clearly proved that the suspension was justified, and were within their right to pay their All-Pro receiver but not allow him to return "due to the nature of his conduct and its destructive and continuing threat to the team."
The Eagles did not immediately comment after the decision was announced.
"We are pleased that the arbitrator has upheld the right of a club to suspend a player for conduct detrimental to the club," said Harold Henderson, the NFL's head of labor relations. "The ruling makes clear that Terrell Owens and his agent engaged in conduct that was disruptive to the Eagles and that coach Reid's decision to suspend the player was appropriate."
Bloch heard more than 13 hours of testimony last week. Owens' side argued the penalty is excessive and the Eagles' decision to deactivate him is too severe. Owens wanted to be reinstated to the Eagles or released so he can sign with another team.
Owens was suspended Nov. 5 after he again criticized quarterback Donovan McNabb, called the organization "classless" and fought with former teammate Hugh Douglas, who serves as team "ambassador."
Two days later, the Eagles extended the suspension to four games and told Owens not to return. The reigning conference champions are 0-3 without Owens and 4-6 overall, last in the NFC East.
Owens has five years remaining on a seven-year, $48.97 million contract that he signed when he came to Philadelphia in March 2004. His problems started when he demanded a new contract after an outstanding season in which he caught 77 passes for 1,200 yards and 14 touchdowns, helping the Eagles reach the Super Bowl.
With Owens, the Eagles are 17-5 over two seasons. Without him, they're 2-5, including two meaningless losses and two playoff wins.
Associated Press writer Dave Goldberg contributed to this report.