Eric Lindros rejected the offer no one thought he would refuse.
After being stripped of his captaincy and ostracized by the team, Lindros turned down the Philadelphia Flyers' $8.5 million qualifying offer Monday and elected to become a restricted free agent.
"The pro of turning this down is you get out from under the direct control of the Philadelphia Flyers," Lindros family lawyer Gordon Kirke said Tuesday.
Kirke said the decision was made around midnight, before the deadline to sign the offer.
"I can't comment on anything at this point," Carl Lindros, Eric's father and agent, said Monday night.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Tuesday that Lindros told assistant general manger Paul Holmgren he would sign.
The team did not have any immediate comment.
The Flyers kept the right to match any offer to Lindros and are entitled to compensation if he leaves as a free agent.
The qualifying offer included a two-way contract that would allow the Flyers to send Lindros to their AHL affiliate, the Philadelphia Phantoms, and pay him a minor league salary of $85,000.
That clause reportedly upset the Lindros family. The Flyers have the option of keeping the offer on the table past the deadline.
Lindros, still recovering from his sixth concussion, was examined recently by Dr. James Kelly, a neurologist in Chicago, and an independent doctor in Montreal.
"They both had similar timelines as far as December, January as far as coming back playing," Lindros said. "I'm going to continue with my therapy and be ready when I'm ready. If I was to jump in at the start of the year, I'd be playing with fire."
Lindros has a $20 million insurance policy that covers him this season. If he doesn't play 20 games, the 27-year-old star center will receive the full premium tax-free.
When he submitted the qualifying offer on June 30, Flyers general manager Bob Clarke, who feuded with Lindros, seemed to reach out to the former captain, calling for a truce.
"On a personal level, I greatly regret the extent to which the relationship between myself and Eric and his family has deteriorated," Clarke said. "I intend to do whatever I can to try to move this relationship onto a better course."
Two weeks later, Clarke urged Lindros to look past their contentious relationship.
"It'd be nice if we got along, but it's not necessary in my opinion," Clarke said.
Lindros had 28 goals and 32 assists in 57 games last season, including four periods of the playoffs. He has made six All-Star teams and won an MVP award in 1995, but the Flyers lost in their only tanley Cup final with him.
Lindros' relationship with Clarke, his childhood hero, deteriorated to a point last season where the two men didn't speak for months.
The boiling point came after Lindros criticized the team's medical staff for failing to diagnose his second concussion of the season on March 4.
Clarke then removed captain's job from Lindros, who returned for Games 6 and 7 of the Eastern Conference finals against New Jersey.
Clarke had an even bigger problem with Lindros' parents. He accused Carl and Bonnie Lindros of meddling in team matters and running their son's life.
"We don't want his mom and dad. We've had enough of them," Clarke said after the season.
The relationship between the Lindros family and the Flyers soured further after Lindros suffered a collapsed lung on April 1, 1999, in Nashville.
The potentially life-threatening injury was diagnosed the following day. After the injury, Lindros and his family had little confidence in the team's medical staff.
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