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A star turn for Owens

Dallas signs him to three-year deal

IRVING, Texas -- Terrell Owens has gone from stomping on the Dallas Cowboys' star logo to wearing it on his helmet.

The reviled receiver joined the Cowboys yesterday, signing a three-year, $25 million contract to play for Jerry Jones and Bill Parcells in what promises to be an interesting combination of strong personalities. The deal includes a $5 million signing bonus, with salaries of $5 million this year, $8 million in 2007, and $7 million in 2008.

''I'm a star among stars now," a smiling Owens said.

There's no questioning his talent -- Owens has consistently put up receiving numbers the Cowboys have lacked since Michael Irvin was in the prime of his career in the mid-1990s.

But it's Owens's attitude that prompted the San Francisco 49ers and Philadelphia Eagles to get rid of him. His relationship with the Eagles soured only months after he led them to Super Bowl XXXIX. He demanded a new contract one year into a seven-year, $48.97 million deal, then squabbled with quarterback Donovan McNabb. He was suspended for the final nine games of last season and released last Tuesday.

Owens referred to his past problems as ''life-learning experiences."

''I'm going to put those things behind me," Owens said. ''They can only make a man stronger, wiser. For me, that's what it's done. I'll be a better teammate, a better person, a better man in life. I'm looking forward to this opportunity. I couldn't be more excited."

Following up a question to Jones about Owens's past, the receiver interjected: ''Jerry, I know what's expected of me. I won't let you down."

Jones didn't immediately reveal contract details, but terms were likely to include behavior-related provisions. Owens's blowup with Philadelphia last season led to new rules regarding punishment being written into the NFL's latest collective bargaining agreement.

''We can both disappoint each other in this agreement," Jones said. ''But this is no free lunch to the Dallas Cowboys. We made a commitment to him. That means something."

Agent Drew Rosenhaus said seven teams pursued Owens, ''but this was the only team for Terrell."

Jones repeatedly mentioned that Parcells was in favor of adding Owens. The coach and his new star receiver already have spoken by telephone, although Parcells didn't attend the news conference.

''This was not me selling Bill, this was not Bill selling me," Jones said. ''This was us taking advantage of getting an outstanding player.

''Bill has coached a lot of players that 'have the perception that they might not fit in with team chemistry.' "

In September 2000, Owens, then a 49er, launched his flamboyant persona when he celebrated each of two touchdown catches at Texas Stadium by running to the team's star logo at midfield. Safety George Teague secured a spot in Dallas lore by decking Owens after the second one.

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