By Marc Weinreich
July 19, 2012

Terrell Owens avoided jail time by making $20,000 in child support back payments on Thursday. (Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

Former NFL star Terrell Owens avoided jail time by appearing in an Atlanta court on Thursday morning and agreeing to make $20,000 in child support back payments to Melanie Smith, the mother of their 7-year-old daughter, according to a report from the Associated Press via The Washington Post:

“We’re pleased. It’s too bad it took this long,” Smith’s lawyer Randy Kessler said after the agreement was signed. “If he’s not going to be there physically, he needs to be there financially.”

In an earlier July report from, Owens was reportedly under the threat of jail time for failing to make child support payments of $5,000 per month. He had missed a hearing in July to address the issue, prompting the County judge to tell the attorneys for Owens and Smith that he could be sentenced to jail if he doesn't appear for the next hearing that took place today.

According to the report on Thursday, Owens wanted to lower his monthly child support payments because he's no longer receiving a salary from the NFL. Smith said that Owens has seen their daughter "about eight to 10 times."

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