In Defense of Terrell Owens

Terrell Owens is back in the news for no good reason, really; he wants to play in the NFL but nobody wants him.  I would say there are tens of millions of people in the same situation 

The weird part though, is that TO can actually play football but experts claim it's his attitude that is earning him the cold shoulder. I thought his attitude with a struggling Bengals team was fine last year. I don't remember hearing anything about tantrums or that he became the infamous locker room "cancer" he's been labeled elsewhere. It may not have been a healthy locker-room culture, but I attribute that more to frustrated veterans dealing with a letdown of a season rather than purely the presence of Terrell Owens.

TO works hard and stays in shape. Yes, he's old and coming off of knee surgery but I think he's getting a raw deal for the wrong reasons by the rest of the league. Why shouldn't the Titans be interested in him? They want Hasselbeck to throw more vertically, they're not satisfied with the receivers they've filled in for the injured Kenny Britt, and TO is that kind of receiver to fit into that kind of offense.

If they're worried about TO dropping balls, breaking off his routes, and shying away from dangerous hits, then they have a valid point. TO the player seemed more frustrating than TO the teammate last season. He put up big numbers and at times was sort of dominant, but he and Carson never got on the same page and the two persisted that way all season long.  I attribute a great deal of this to the reason why the Bengals collapsed and died after suffering through a ten-game losing streak in 2010. The former Bengals play-caller, Bob Bratkowski, forced TO into the action too much last year; Even Terrell Owens himself had to question the play-calling even though it benefited him the most. The problem with Owens was this: the Bengals didn't need him, but when they brought him in anyway, they used him in the wrong role.

A good comparison of a similar situation handled differently is his buddy and former teammate, Mr. Chad Ochocinco in New England. The Patriots already have their star in Wes Welker, a young tight end (or two), and some complimentary role players. They've tried working Chad in slowly with little success, but the rest of the offense hums along without any problems. TO signed when the Bengals already had their star in Ocho, had a young tight end, and some complimentary role players. The Bengals threw a ton of passes to No. 81 and went all in on the success of the new guy with a big name and lost. I bet if the Patriots threw at Chad all the time, his numbers would obviously be better, but that seamless design of an offense would run less efficiently and Brady would have to force passes to Ocho that contradict common sense. Instead, they either can use him more later in the season as they adjust their offensive scheme, or just continue to largely ignore him and win more games.  Either way, TO, like Chad is now,  should have either been a compliment or a non-factor -- not a focal point. If there is another team in TO's future, they would be wise to keep this in mind.

I can't imagine TO demanding a ton of money. If his knee can hold up, he could really help a team like the Titans, and if not, the risk is low. Tennessee offense reeks of  atrophy and decay right now. Their running game is uncharacteristically nonexistent, their receivers seem to get worse every week and Britt isn't coming back this season. They're in the thick of things in a soft AFC South and are too relevant to let the offense grind to a halt. I won't say they need TO, but I think they could really use him. 

TO has done a lot of regrettable stuff in his life and he burns under the hot gaze of the media microscope. We've seen him range all across the emotional spectrum from explosions of anger to weeping over his quarterback. He damn sure ain't perfect, but to say that he is unable to play football like a professional seems unfounded after a rather docile 2010.  I still think it's a non-story that he hasn't signed, but the reasons as to why that is are off-base and almost unfair.

Mojokong—get your pop-rocks ready.
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