Last year, he acted like the ultimate man.
Injured for the NFC playoffs, he stood on the sidelines, pumping up both the crowd and his teammates, waving towels, showing outstanding leadership. He was a man on a mission, and he stood tall.
Not fully recovered for the Super Bowl, he played anyway, caught about a dozen passes, and helped his team acquit itself better against the Patriots than anyone else in the post-season. In the stadium, again, he was a man on a mission, and he stood tall.
That's what he had indicated he could deliver, and deliver he did. It takes a full team to deliver a Super Bowl title, and T.O. did more than his fair share. He played like a champion.
But then he talked a bit too much in the off-season, demonstrating that the mouth control problems that had infected another (and now former) Eagles' receiver were contagious. And he asked for a new contract.
He tugged on Superman's cape. He spat into the wind.
Worse, he told management that he would hold out until the matter gets resolved and he gets a new contract.
Hell might freeze over sooner.
The Eagles responded yesterday with what everyone expected: they will not renegotiate.
T.O. was the center of attention, the center of discussions of character, during the end of last year's NFL season.
Today, he's the center of discussions about the self-centered athlete.
And it doesn't look like he'll get much public sympathy, either.
The Eagles and T.O. are in a game of chicken right now.
The Eagles will play football (and make money) in the fall. It appears unlikely that they'll flinch.
T.O. doesn't have many earning years left.
But is the clock ticking on the Eagles' window to win the Super Bowl with this team?
How badly does T.O. need the Eagles, and how badly do the Eagles need T.O.?
I recall the 1985 Super Bowl season, when the Bears blitzed everyone and looked invincible. Two players held out from the outstanding 46 defense that Buddy Ryan created -- Al Harris and Todd Bell. They weren't the stars, and the Bears proved that they could win without those two starters.
T.O. is better than those guys, but does he really want to risk upsetting a potential Hall of Fame career? A potential Super Bowl championship.
He signed an agreement before last season. He should think about that long and hard.
Before the Eagles send him back to San Francisco for a bunch of good draft picks.