Lindros snubs Philadelphia

Posted: Tuesday, August 01, 2000

PHILADELPHIA -- After being stripped of his captaincy and getting ostracized from the team, Eric Lindros had enough of the Philadelphia Flyers.

Lindros reportedly rejected the team's $8.5 million qualifying offer Monday, and elected to become a restricted free agent.

CTV Sportsnet and Headline Sports quoted Lindros family lawyer Gordon Kirke as saying that the center is now a restricted free agent. Kirke would not provide further details until Tuesday morning.

''I can't comment on anything at this point,'' Carl Lindros, Eric's father and agent, said late Monday. The qualifying offer included a two-way contract that would allow the Flyers to send Lindros to their AHL affiliate, the Philadelphia Phantoms, and pay him a minor league salary of $85,000.

Lindros, still recovering from his sixth concussion, was examined recently by Dr. James Kelly, a neurologist in Chicago, and an independent doctor in Montreal.

''They both had similar timelines as far as December, January as far as coming back playing,'' Lindros said. ''I'm going to continue with my therapy and be ready when I'm ready. If I was to jump in at the start of the year, I'd be playing with fire.''

Lindros has a $20 million insurance policy that covers him this season. If he doesn't play 20 games, the 27-year-old star center will receive the full premium tax-free.

After a tumultuous season marked by a feud with general manager Bob Clarke and four concussions, Lindros appears to have bid the Flyers farewell.

The Flyers maintained the right to match any offer to Lindros, and are entitled to compensation if he leaves as a Group 2 free agent.

When he submitted the qualifying offer, Clarke seemed to reach out to Lindros, and call for a truce.

''On a personal level, I greatly regret the extent to which the relationship between myself and Eric and his family has deteriorated,'' Clarke said. ''I intend to do whatever I can to try to move this relationship onto a better course.''

Two weeks later Clarke urged Lindros to look past their contentious relationship.

''It'd be nice if we got along, but it's not necessary in my opinion,'' Clarke said. ''You're a hockey player, you play for your coach and your teammates. Lots of players don't like their managers, but you still play for your teammates and that's what we encourage him to look at.''

Lindros had 28 goals and 32 assists in 57 games last season, including four periods of the playoffs. He has made six All-Star teams and won an MVP award in 1995, but the Flyers lost in their only Stanley Cup final with him.

Lindros came to Philadelphia in 1992 following a trade with Quebec that included six players, two first-round draft choices and $15 million.

Lindros' relationship with Clarke, his childhood hero, deteriorated to a point last season where the two men didn't speak for months.

The boiling point came after Lindros criticized the team's medical staff for failing to diagnose his second concussion of the season on March 4.

Clarke then stripped Lindros of his captaincy, and the star was ostracized from the team until he returned for Games 6 and 7 of the Eastern Conference finals against New Jersey.

Clarke had an even bigger problem with Lindros' parents. He accused Carl and Bonnie Lindros of meddling in team matters and running their son's life.

''We don't want his mom and dad. We've had enough of them,'' Clarke said after the season.

The relationship between the Lindros family and the Flyers soured further after Lindros suffered a collapsed lung on April 1, 1999, in Nashville.

The potentially life-threatening injury was diagnosed the following day. After the injury, Lindros and his family had little confidence in the team's medical staff.

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