Bad boy in Blue

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:58 AM ET

A chance to bolster an already impressive receiving corps was too good to pass up for Brendan Taman.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers GM has agreed to contract terms with star NFL receiver Terrell Owens in the highest-profile signing in CFL history, the Sun has learned.

Taman isn't worried about Owens, a former prima donna, being a distraction in the Bombers' locker-room after reading his children's book, Little T Learns To Share.

"If you look at the words and the passion in which he wrote the book, you can tell he has changed his ways," Taman said. "I don't expect him to be a problem at all."

Since today is April 1, Owens has two months to learn how to catch a Canadian football, but the GM believes his newest acquisition will be able to figure it out.

Owens had been under contract to the NFL's Dallas Cowboys, but he will announce his retirement this morning. He reportedly told friends and teammates he can't go on in the NFL without Bill Parcells.

RUMBLINGS

Taman heard rumblings last week Owens was thinking of calling it a career, so he immediately put the 6-foot-3, 224-pound receiver on the Bombers' negotiation list. Taman and Drew Rosenhaus, Owens' agent, came to an agreement in just 24 hours.

The contract does come with a few, minor strings attached, but the Bombers were willing to meet most of T.O.'s demands. The first is Toronto can no longer be referred to as T.O. by anyone in Canada.

"That's not a problem at all," Taman said. "We'll just go back to calling it the centre of the universe."

The second stipulation is Owens must be thrown to 15 times per game. Each time that doesn't happen, he'll receive a $40,000 bonus. Taman said it could be a problem now that the CFL has a salary cap.

"If we have to play with 14 guys at the end of the year, we'll do it," he said. "Terrell is worth it."

Another demand was a "flake fee." If so much as one snowflake lands on Owens during his time in Winnipeg, the Bombers will have to pay him $30,000.

Considering the Bombers are instant Grey Cup contenders with Owens on board and the Grey Cup is in late November, Taman is already looking at ways to shave $30,000 off the payroll. He will not, however, ask Charles Roberts to take a pay cut.

One final request from Owens was he wanted to wear jersey No. 85. That one was denied.

Owens will get just one stall in the Bomber locker-room, and it will be located next to defensive back Kelly Malveaux's spot. That way, Taman said, they can share one box of Sharpies, since the team is now pinching pennies.

Owens will be renting out David Asper's Wellington Crescent mansion and will conduct his introductory press conference on a weight bench in the driveway later this week.

And since Asper is willing to rent out his pad at a reduced rate, he assumes control of the Bombers tomorrow, when it is expected he will also name himself the team's new head coach and GM.


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