A shattering KO for T.O.

Well, I guess Terrell Owens’ ego — at least for now — no longer is as swollen as a blowfish.Arbitrator Richard Bloch turned T.O.’s champagne smile upside today when he sided with those madcap comedians in the Eagles organization.Bloch upheld the Eagles’ four-game suspension of their mutinous wideout and their right to deactivate him thereafter.Bloch’s ruling effectively ends Owens’ season. That hissing and howling you now hear undoubtedly belongs to Owens, who will have even more free time to be preoccupied with his celebrity. 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.””We couldn’t have written it any better ourselves,” an Eagles official told ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio.After the ruling, the Eagles released a one-paragraph statement thanking Bloch for considering the matter and saying Philadelphia is looking forward to “moving on with our preparations for Sunday’s game vs. Green Bay and the rest of the 2005 season and will have no further comment on this issue.”There had been reports this morning that Bloch was going to soften T.O.’s punishment. Instead, his ruling dramatically vindicated the Eagles — about the only victory they’ve posted latelyT.O.’s posse and the players union had argued that the suspension was excessive and the deactivation for the season was too severe. Owens sought reinstatement to the Eagles or a release so he could sign with another team.The Eagles maintained the suspension was fair and are willing to pay Owens about $1 million to stay home the final five games.Bloch’s ruling is the latest development in the almost cartoonish relationship between Owens and the Birds, who undoubtedly will part ways with him in the offseason to avoid paying him a March roster bonus of $5 million. For those of us who have been on the T.O. watch all summer and autumn, the closure of this media circus seems rather surreal. There were times this year when it seemed Owens would sit like a clot on the psyche of the Eagles organization for eternity, like a few grains of cereal perpetually stuck to the side of the bowl.Now the selectively loquacious rebel who always is searching for a way out of the lockstep NFL world now finds himself on the outside looking in.As for the Eagles, their season already a lost cause, they no longer have to worry about the T.O. nonsense welling up inside them like a terrible virus.In a twist of irony, Terrell Owens — who elevates self-consciousness to an art form — now finds himself to be a solitary man, a lonely receiver without a team.

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