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Cowboys give T.O. a contract extension

IRVING -- The Dallas Cowboys offered a definitive rejection Monday to any concerns about whether receiver Terrell Owens would cause problems if he entered the 2008 season without a new contract.

The Cowboys simply gave him one -- coming to terms with Owens on a lucrative three-year contract extension.

Owens will get a $12.9 signing bonus and $27 million in new money on a deal that runs through 2011, according to a source. The four-year package is worth $34 million.

Owens was in the final year of the three-year, $25 million deal he signed in 2006. He was due to earn a $3 million roster bonus Tuesday to guarantee his 2008 base salary of $4 million.

His base salary in 2008 will be $830,000, including $100,000 of which is guaranteed.

Owens was unavailable for comment. His agent, Drew Rosenhaus, did not return a phone message.

The Cowboys also did not comment on the contract extension, although it is expected to be signed Tuesday. A news conference is also expected Tuesday.

Owens, who will turn 35 next season, said he wanted to retire as a member of the Cowboys. The new deal allows him to do that.

It also keeps him among the league’s highest paid receivers. His contract extension mirrors the three-year, $27 million contract Randy Moss signed with the New England Patriots in March.

What’s certain is that Owens has come a long way in three years since he was unceremoniously dumped by the Philadelphia Eagles for being a disruption in the locker room. He joined the Cowboys in 2006 hoping to regain his status as one of the league’s top playmakers while promising to be a better person and better teammate.

Owens has 166 catches for 2,535 yards and 28 touchdowns the past two seasons. No other receiver in the NFL has caught more touchdown passes during that time. He set a club record with 15 touchdown receptions last season and was named to the Pro Bowl.

More important, Owens has become a good teammate and a team leader in Dallas -- responding favorably to the new staff put together by coach Wade Phillips, including offensive coordinator Jason Garrett and receivers coach Ray Sherman.

It was Owens who offered an emotional and tear-filled defensive of quarterback Tony Romo following the team’s devastating divisional playoff loss to the New York Giants last season.

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