Former Philadelphia Eagles president Joe Banner explains T.O.’s departure

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You can’t talk about Andy Reid being in the Super Bowl without thinking about him taking the Philadelphia Eagles there and all of the fallout that followed.

It must be that time of the year. Once upon a time the end of January and the beginning of February meant that Philadelphia Eagles fans were off somewhere wondering when it would be their time to celebrate, but things have changed, especially this season.

Eagles fans have much to talk about. Their former coach, the winningest in franchise history, is in the Super Bowl with a chance to win it all. In Philadelphia, 94 WIP-FM, one of their sports stations, is celebrating ‘Andy Reid Appreciation Day’. Then, there’s the other thing.

Let’s face it. It’s easy to endure defeat now knowing that the ‘Birds’ have a Lombardi Trophy on the shelf. Now, the focus has changed from wondering when it might happen to now wondering when they’ll win another.

Call it complacency if you want. You’d be wrong to do so if you did, but if you like, there’s a word that you can toss around.

The more accurate statement would be that the first Super Bowl win alleviated a lot of stress. Now, when February rolls around, ‘Birds’ fans have some positive memories. Super Bowl LII was a great day, but here we are two years later, and there’s ‘Big Red’ in the 54th. That evokes memories of another Super Bowl, one that came 13 seasons earlier, which, in turn, leads to thoughts about another.

Remember that time Terrell Owens went off in the big game with a plate and two screws in his leg? That should have been the first Super Bowl win. That should have led to a few more appearances, but it wasn’t meant to be. What’s sad is it was the feud that went on and is still going on between Donovan McNabb and T.O. behind the scenes that ruined it.

For no apparent reason, ‘5’ brought the whole thing up again recently, and Owens fired back. Now, here we are, reliving those old moments again. During 94 WIP-FM’s ‘Andy Reid Appreciation Day’, former Eagles president Joe Banner joined Jon Marks and Ike Reese to shed a little light on the situation. Here’s some of what he had to say.

I certainly wish (that) we would have been able to keep him on the team in a way that wasn’t divisive or damaging to the team. To this day there’s been no player, and that includes all the Peyton Manning’s and Tom Brady’s of the world, who have signed a long-term deal that was re-done after one year. And the fact of the matter is, despite the way it was portrayed by some, we paid T.O. a fair market deal. At that time, the top wide receiver in the league was making seven a half, eight million dollars per year and his deal was just under seven and a half million dollars per year.

That sounds simple enough. Here’s more.

I was concerned about the precedent it would create after one year… People don’t remember (or know) the three year contract he signed with Dallas paid him over the next three years the exact same amount of money he was due over the next three years with Philadelphia, so he became a free-agent. 31 teams got to bid on him, and none of them paid him anymore than we were going to pay him. He obviously converted some non guaranteed to guaranteed money by going to Dallas, but we probably would have been willing to do that if that was the only issue. The way he or his agents had presented that to us was a lot more complicated. They really wanted to rip up the deal and start from scratch.

In the end, things worked out. Philly got their Super Bowl. Andy Reid has a shot to get his. T.O. is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Even though it feels like the contract issues that T.O. had and the McNabb and Owens beef robbed us all of something that could have been special, we’re all certain that more wins and another Eagles Super Bowl appearance will come one day. Hopefully, that’s sooner rather than later, and hopefully, the ‘Birds’ will raise another Lombardi Trophy when the game is over. For now, they have to find some joy in ‘Big Red’ raising his (if that’s what happens).

 

 

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