Former NFL wide receiver Terrell Owens is $20,000 in arrears in his child support payments to the Atlanta mother of one of his children, and she wants him fined or jailed if he doesn’t pay up, according to a new petition her attorney filed Friday.
The Fulton County contempt of court petition, the latest of several filed in the past year by Melanie Paige Smith, says Owens owes $5,000 for each of the months of December, January, February and March.
A Fulton County judge ordered the payments for the support of the couple’s daughter in March 2007.
“He has not indicated if he ever plans to send another penny for their daughter,” Smith’s attorney, Randall Kessler, said in a letter to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“We plan to ask the court to send a strong message, given that he has only paid support in the last 10 months after a contempt action has been filed against him,” Kessler said.
Efforts were being made late Friday to reach Owens for comment. He now plays for the Dallas, Texas-area Allen Wranglers in the Indoor Football League.
Last summer, Owens, popularly known as T.O., blamed the NFL lockout on his inability to make the $5,000 monthly payments to Smith and asked a judge to lower them to $2,500. The request was denied. He caught up with his payments and appeared to have continued them through November.
Owens, a six-time Pro Bowler but controversial player known for creating firestorms on and off the field, has played for the San Francisco 49ers, Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys, Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals, which did not renew his $2 million, one-year contract last year.
Owens now plays in the Indoor Football League as wide receiver and 50-percent owner of the Allen Wranglers. According to Dallas media reports, Owens' deal with the Wranglers could compensate him up to $500,000 this season. The league’s 14-game season began on Feb. 25.
Smith is one of several women seeking child support for the former NFL wide receiver. According to a January GQ article, Owens pays $44,600 a month in child support for his four children, ages 5 to 12. Three of the four mothers have sued him.
In that same article, Owens bemoaned his child support troubles.
“It's just a shame that those women don't want to work and do something to help support my kids," he told GQ.
At least one of those mothers, Smith, is determined to get what a Fulton County judge has ordered Owens to pay.
In addition to legal fees, the contempt petition filed Friday asks the court to impose a fine or jail time.
“We remain hopeful that he will choose to resume supporting his daughter, but neither we nor our client have had any indication from him since last year as to when and if he will ever provide another penny in support,” Kessler said.