(I worked as a Sports Editor from late 2004 until the summer of 2006. This is one of the many columns I was able to save that were originally published in The Sun-Times of Heber Springs, Arkansas.)
I guess it’s time I weigh in on this Terrell Owens business. Everywhere I turn someone is giving his or her take on TO, so let me be hip, cool, and topical as well.
If you don’t know by now that Owens was suspended for four games and headed to the inactive list after the suspension is over, I can’t help you. Maybe you should go back to reading the riveting mudslinging in our ‘A’ section better known as “Letters to the Editor”.
Owens blew up last week because Philadelphia didn’t celebrate his becoming only the sixth player in league history to have 100 receiving touchdowns. He was also once again critical of Donovan McNabb and insinuated that the Eagles would be better off with Brett Favre.
On his 100th touchdown: If Owens was unaware that the Eagles do not celebrate individual success, then he has a right to be upset. Almost every other team in the league would have stopped play, taken the ball from the field, and let Owens bathe in justly deserved applause.
Someone in upper management should have known the inevitable was near and warned TO that his achievement would be ignored.
On Favre over McNabb: Owens is probably right. McNabb is injured and refuses to miss any time. He is playing at half of his capabilities, which seriously hinders the Eagles chances at a fifth straight NFC title game. Besides, Favre is a better quarterback. Owens remarks were flippant, but he should have known that they would be used against him.
Now Philadelphia is saying it wasn’t just these two indiscretions that led to the suspension, but a season full of them that has finally broken their collective backs.
It is my contention that while Owens has made his bed and now, he has to finally lie in it, it was the Eagles that showed him the room, gave him the sheets, and told him ‘nighty-nite’.
What did they think was going to happen? Especially since the Eagles have been losing – why, oh why is Andy Ried calling for a pass on every down when McNabb can barely throw the ball without wincing – didn’t they know that it was just a matter of time before Owens discontentment would turn into physical and verbal manifestations?
They still aren’t paying him what he’s worth, they’re losing, and in his opinion, they aren’t giving him his props. Owens may be the perfect example of everything that’s wrong with professional athletes, but he didn’t become that way overnight.
The Eagles knew what they were getting. It’s like buying (excuse me, illegally purchasing) a lion to protect your yard. At first, everything is cool. The lion is scaring the crap out of everyone, stray dogs and cats no longer enter your yard, and the days of solicitors, bill collectors and little kids asking to mow your lawn are over.
And just when everything is good, you go to pet the lion and he bites your hand off because you haven’t been feeding him the proper amount of raw elk that he’s used to. So instead of realizing that a lion is a lion, you shoot him in the face or ship him back to the zoo.
I said way back in August (and by the way, I’m not an NFL GM, head coach, owner, or kicker) “If they don’t trade or raise Terrell, his discontentment will probably ruin the Eagle season”.
Well now look what’s happened. If TO isn’t suiting up for them the rest of the season, I say good luck in getting out of what may be the toughest division in football.
The player’s union wants Philadelphia to cut him, so Owens can sign with a new team before the season is over. They also say that when the Eagles first presented the suspension, it was originally going to be only for the Washington game. Now they’ve added three more with the likelihood of the inactive list looming.
Why not trade him now and get something in return for him that might help salvage this season? If they don’t, I see them being just as childish as Owens, who by the way, made a very humble public apology Tuesday afternoon. An apology that didn’t make one iota of difference to the Eagles.
I’m interested in seeing which teams are willing to roll the dice on Terrible.
I think a team like Atlanta or Oakland, or New England would be a good fit. Atlanta because it’s Atlanta and Michael Vick is there, Oakland because they have a long history of turning malcontents into champions and New England because all they do is win and they could use a receiver of Owens caliber.
In fact, every team in the NFL could use him.
Especially the Eagles.