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The St. Louis Rams have intensified discussions in hopes of signing free agent Terrell Owens, according to sources close to the player and team.
The Rams asked Owens through his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, if he would consider a serious contract proposal, even though they are not considered a playoff contender. Rosenhaus told the team Owens would definitely consider it, sources said.
A high-ranking Rams official said a formal offer for Owens could come on Monday.
The Rams believe Owens would take heat off their young wide receiver corps that includes Donnie Avery, Laurent Robinson and rookie Mardy Gilyard, as well as loosen up opposing defenses from focusing on running back Steven Jackson.
The Cincinnati Bengals, as reported by ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter, are also engaged in talks with Owens. The Bengals signed free-agent receiver Antonio Bryant during the offseason but Bryant has struggled so far. According to a team source, that has motivated the Bengals to take another look at Owens.
One source said the Rams have gotten very aggressive in their pursuit of Owens and it's possible that Owens will sign with the Rams or Bengals within the next 48 to 72 hours.
However, the Bengals still have given no indication they're ready to offer a contract. They want to get a good look at their young wide receivers and have five preseason games to do it. They need some of those guys to play special teams. Chad Ochocinco, Bryant and Owens would not be special teams-type guys, so it's uncertain how quickly the Bengals would react if they sensed he was about to sign with someone else.
Quarterback Carson Palmer is definitely pushing for Owens, however, and there is quite a bit of concern over Bryant's performance in the offseason after the Bengals signed him to a four-year, $28 million free-agent deal.The Atlanta Falcons are among teams clearly parked on the other side of the T.O. fence. "I don't think [we'll show an interest in Owens]," Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said during a radio interview that included ESPN.com NFL reporter Len Pasquarelli as a guest host. "We like the guys we have. No, I don't see us doing that."
Chris Mortensen is ESPN's senior NFL analyst.