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San Francisco trades Owens to Ravens

Posted: Friday, March 05, 2004

Terrell Owens is now Brian Billick's problem and the star receiver the Baltimore Ravens have never had.

The tempestuous receiver was traded by San Francisco to the Ravens on Thursday, a week after he was prevented from becoming a free agent because of a paperwork mistake. The 49ers got a second-round draft pick in return a bonus considering they would have received nothing had he become a free agent.

''However he treated people or dealt with people before is not of concern to me because the Baltimore Ravens weren't a part of that,'' Billick said of Owens, whose behavior alienated coaches and teammates and prompted the 49ers to get rid of him.

Philadelphia, meanwhile, formalized its $66 million, eight-year deal with Jevon Kearse after the former Tennessee defensive end passed a physical. That had been a concern because of foot problems that kept Kearse on the sideline for a lot of the past two seasons.

''I think they're one pass rusher away from winning the big game. Not one player from winning the NFC Championship, but one player away from winning the Super Bowl, said Kearse, whose signing lifts the spirits of Philadelphia fans after three consecutive losses in NFC championship games.

The Seattle Seahawks signed defensive end Grant Wistrom to a multiyear contract, with agent Tom Condon saying it was a six-year deal that includes a $14 million signing bonus.

''I'm not the type of guy who likes to drag things out,'' said Wistrom, who had 7 1/2 sacks for St. Louis last season. ''I want to get in here and get to work.''

On Thursday night, The Washington Post and ESPN.com reported that former Indianapolis linebacker Marcus Washington agreed to terms with the Washington Redskins, with both saying the deal was for six years and $24 million.

Also, unrestricted free-agent cornerback Antoine Winfield agreed in principle to a contract with the New York Jets, but later appeared to be wavering on his decision.

A source within the NFL, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told The Associated Press that the former Buffalo player and agent Richard Katz had worked out a deal with the Jets.

But the team said there was no announcement. Katz did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

ESPN.com said Winfield backed away from the deal for personal reasons after agreeing in principle on a six-year, $30 million deal that includes a $10 million signing bonus.

Still, Owens' deal took the spotlight.

Owens, one of the NFL's best receivers, gives the Baltimore offense the kind of receiver it has never had not even when it won the Super Bowl after the 2000 season. The price was relatively cheap a second-round draft choice for an impact player.

But it also could give Billick and his coaching staff a headache. Owens feuded with both Steve Mariucci and Dennis Erickson in San Francisco as well as teammates and opponents with his surliness, complaints and on-field antics.

Nor does the deal make the Ravens an offensive juggernaut.

There are still questions at quarterback, where Kyle Boller is still learning and missed the second half of last season with a knee injury. And Jamal Lewis, who rushed for 2,066 yards last season, is under indictment for drug conspiracy.

The 49ers benefit, too.

Instead of losing Owens with nothing in return, they get the 51st overall pick in what's expected to be a deep draft, especially for wide receivers.

The Redskins and Broncos introduced Clinton Portis and Champ Bailey, who were dealt for each other. That was the first trade of current Pro Bowl players since the Chargers traded quarterback John Hadl to the Rams for defensive tackle Coy Bacon following the 1972 season.

Portis claimed that as a running back he would be more valuable to the Redskins than Bailey could be as a cornerback.

''You get yourself two top-notch receivers he can't cover both of them,'' he said. ''I have a chance to control what happens in the game. I have the ball, and I'm the only one that knows what I'm going to do with it.''

But Washington coach Joe Gibbs conceded the Redskins were forced to get rid of Bailey because of the cornerback's antipathy for owner Daniel Snyder.

''There was a history there,'' Gibbs said. ''It became obvious that it was going to be extremely tough for us to do, and it was extremely obvious that he wasn't coming to camp. I think he pretty well made up his mind that it was going to be hard for him to come back here.''

In other developments Thursday:

The Cleveland Browns disclosed they will meet Friday with quarterback Jeff Garcia, cut for salary cap reasons by San Francisco this week. He could be an option if the Browns can't renegotiate a cap-friendly deal with Tim Couch.

Tampa Bay signed another former 49er, left tackle Derrick Deese, a 12-year veteran. Deese also was cut on Monday.

Houston formalized its deal with defensive tackle Robaire Smith. The former Titan signed a six-year deal worth $26.3 million.

New Orleans signed former Tampa Bay running back Aaron Stecker, who will back up Deuce McAllister.



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