Thursday, July 28, 2005

The Miseducation of Terrell Owens

(Quick Shout Out: Bugs Bunny turns turns 65 today. Happy Birthday, Doc!)

A rough timeline of Terrell Owens' pro career to date.

1995

  • 49ers draft Terrell Owens out of Division 1-AA Tennessee-Chattanooga with the 89th overall pick

1998

  • Owens catches a Hail Mary pass from Steve Young, known in NFL lore as "The Catch II"

2000

  • Terrell Owens showboats on the Star in the middle of Texas Stadium not once, but twice. The second time produces a hit from Cowboys' safety George Teague, and a melee ensues.
  • Owens was fined and suspended by Niners' management for the incident, causing a rift between the two that would never heal.
  • Owens sets an NFL record in Jerry Rice's last game as a 49er with 20 catches in the game.

2001

  • After blowing a 19 point lead to Chicago, Owens accuses Niners' head coach Steve Mariucci of protecting his "buddy" Dick Jauron
  • Niners lose in the playoffs to Green Bay. Terrell vents during the post game press conference, drawing the ire of teammate Jeremy Newberry.

2002

  • During a 28-21 victory by the 49ers, Terrell Owens pulls a Sharpie out of his sock and autographs the ball. He tosses the ball into the box. Somehow, a national uproar ensues about Owens display of disrespect.
  • The next week, Owens hurts his case by dropping the race card in an interview.
  • Owens finishes the season with a career high 100 catches.
  • In the Niners' playoff game against the Giants, Owens leads the Niners to a comeback win.
  • The Niners follow up the comeback by getting pounded 31-6 by the eventual Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Bucs. Mariucci is fired as 49ers coach after the loss and replaced by Dennis Erickson.

2003

  • Quarterback issues and Dennis Erickson's lack of control spiral the 49ers out of control.
  • A frustrated Owens gets in the face of offensive coordinator Greg Knapp, which ends up being the final straw. The Niners and Owens agree to part ways at seasons' end

2004

  • Owens' agent fails to file paperwork making Terrell Owens a free agent.
  • Owens gets traded to Baltimore, causing Owens to protest to an arbitrator because he wanted to go to Philly. Eventually a 3-way deal is worked out so that Terrell Owens will go to Philly.
  • On the way out, Terrell Owens gives an interview to Playboy where he hints that former teammate Jeff Garcia is gay. (To which he later apologizes)
  • Owens signs a new deal with the Eagles.
  • On opening weekend against the Giants, Terrell Owens catches 3 touchdown passes, equalling the highest total of any Philly wideout the previous year
  • In 5 of the Eagles first 7 games, Owens tops 100 yards
  • In a game against Cleveland and Garcia, Owens catches 2 touchdown passes and both times rips down signs berating him.
  • The next week in Baltimore, Owens mocks Ray Lewis's dance while catching the game clinching touchdown.
  • Before a Monday Night Game against Dallas, T.O. shoots a racy promo with "Desperate Housewives" star Nicolette Sheridan, which causes a firestorm of controversy. Lost in the controversy was that Owens had 6 catches for 134 yards, apparently inspired by Sheridans...um..."acting skills"
  • In the return game against Dallas, Cowboys safety Roy Williams horse-collars Owens, which causes his foot to stick in the turf and fracture his leg, sidelining Owens for what appeared to be the rest of the season
  • Donovan McNabb leads Philly to two playoff wins and a Super Bowl berth in Owens' absence
  • Owens ignores every doctor and plays in Super Bowl XXXIX anyway, catching 9 balls for 122 yards in a loss to the New England Patriots.

2005

  • Owens dumps his former agent (the one that screwed up the paperwork) in favor of Drew Rosenhaus, a move that signaled his intent to re-negotiate his contract after one season.
  • Owens gives an interview where he says he "wasn't the one who got tired in the Super Bowl," a remark apparently directed at McNabb. McNabb responds angrily.
  • Owens, along with other Rosenhaus clients like Javon Walker, threaten to hold out.
  • Owens is denied permission to play for the Sacramento Kings summer league team by Philly management
  • After Eagles' president Joe Banner states that Owens and Rosenhaus are "not thinking rationally" Owens demands publicly that Banner give Rosenhaus permission to seek a trade and lists Atlanta as a possible destination.
  • Owens states that he will report to camp on time, but he won't be happy about it.
And the future?

Owens' talent and drive is undeniable, and he usually produces. Plus, he doesn't beat women, he doesn't do drugs, and he doesn't get arrested. And after the many good seasons he's had, I can understand why he'd want to re-negotiate.

If he had let Drew Rosenhaus do all the talking, he'd probably have people on his side.

The problem here is, T.O. has called out Donovan McNabb, one of the few marketable stars of the league and one of the guys that's universally liked, and demanded a trade. This gives people a chance to recall his history of being a locker room cancer in San Francisco. Now the Eagles have "the nuts" in this high stakes game of PR poker.

There is one card that can save T.O. on the river: another Pro Bowl season by him that ends in a Super Bowl trip. Anything less and it's T.O.'s fault. Fair or not.

Oh, and you may think the system is unfair to the players, but the alternative is labor hell like the NHL went through.

Tomorrow: BlogPoll
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