Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Tour de T.O.

I figured this "Terrell Owens in Dallas" thing would end very badly, I just didn't know it would start unravelling this soon.

Yes, he finally made it back onto the field today, but not before enduring mountains of public criticism for separating himself from the rest of the team.

(Yes, Allen Iverson, we are talking about practice. It's a little more important in football because you have to coordinate the actions of 45 people instead of 10 like in basketball.)

However, one has to wonder if the issue here is really separating himself from the team. It's probably has to do more with why T.O. separated himself from the team and why he did it for so long.

Remember, T.O. came back from a broken leg to participate in Super Bowl XXXIX. That he's now missed 14 practices with a simple hamstring injury can be taken in two lights, both of which harm Owens's reputation.

The most serious is the view that Owens, because he was able to play on a busted stick in a Super Bowl, should be able to practice through a hamstring. This diminishes the one quality Terrell Owens had that actually endeared him to some: That unlike Randy Moss, who was a no-show during practices and occasionally games, T.O. was a hard worker. Plus, being a "jake" is the worst thing an athlete can be accused of, worse than a murderer, worse even than doping. And then there's the reaction of his teammates, many of whom may be required to play on a bad hammy at some point this year, and are looking at T.O.'s bike routine and extended time off and wondering if he's getting special treatment. If he hadn't got back on the field when he did, I'm sure Roy Williams and the rest of the defense wouldn't hesitate to give him another broken leg when he did get back.

The second thing this injury does is give credence to all the conspiracy theorists who maintain that his comeback in the Super Bowl was just a publicity stunt, never mind that he looked like his old self the whole game and turned in a decent performance.

Somehow it's fitting that he was wearing a Team Discovery cycling jersey. If Terrell Owens had been a track star or cyclist, and those sports weren't under constant negative press because of doping, Terrell Owens might be an unqualified sports legend because he has the drive to succeed and the mentality to be a great individual sport athlete.

Heck, had he picked up a set of golf clubs, Tiger Woods might actually have a rival.

Unfortunately, his sport requires that he have the trust of 10 other individuals playing with him in order for him to succeed.
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