Jones signs controversial WR to 3-year contract
After a week of rumors and reports, the Dallas Cowboys and free-agent receiver Terrell Owens made it official Saturday when he signed a three-year, $25 million contract to play for America's Team.
Owens, who created off-the-field controversy that ripped apart San Francisco and Philadelphia, receives a signing bonus of $5 million and a base salary this season of $5 million.
"This is no free lunch for the Dallas Cowboys," owner Jerry Jones said about Owens' contract at a news conference at the team's headquarters. "We've made a commitment to him.
"This wasn't done cavalierly. We did our homework. We know this makes us a better team."
The Eagles released Owens last week. The Cowboys cleared a spot for him by releasing receiver Keyshawn Johnson.
"I couldn't be happier," Owens said. "I'm a star among stars now. My main focus is to win a championship."
Deal fine by Parcells
Owens, who infuriated Cowboys fans and players in 2000 when he danced on the midfield star at Texas Stadium after scoring two touchdowns for San Francisco, vowed to be a different player with Dallas than he was with the 49ers and Eagles.
"Of course I've made mistakes," he said. "I've learned some lessons, but you can't move forward if you keep bringing up the past. I'm going to put those things behind me. They can only make a man stronger, wiser. ... I'll be a better teammate, a better person, a better man in life. I'm looking forward to this opportunity."
Coach Bill Parcells was not present at the news conference, but Jones said nothing should be read into it. Parcells hasn't attended any of the news conferences the Cowboys have had to announce free-agent signings.
"Bill was very much a part of this decision from the get-go," Jones said. "Bill is very much on the same page with all of us. ... If there's a tie, I break it. But there's was no tie here. We both wanted Terrell to be part of this team."
Jones seemed to believe that if Owens becomes a problem again, Parcells will handle him.
"We understand that this signing opens the door for more scrutiny of our organization," Jones said, "but Bill has a successful track record of taking high-profile players and making everybody understand what a locker room is all about. ... I've always believed that if I'm going to gamble, I'm going to gamble with quality. And Terrell is quality."
Owens, 32, has been to five Pro Bowls in his last six seasons. When he was answering a question, he looked at Jones.
"I know what's expected of me, and I won't let you down," Owens said.
When reminded he had said basically the same things when he arrived in Philadelphia, Owens said: "This is America's Team. I feel right at home."