SportsProf

(Hopefully) good sports essays and observations for good sports by a guy who tries (and can sometimes fail) to be a good sport.

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Wednesday, August 10, 2005

The Next Jerry Rice?

Hardly.

Depending on who you ask, either Eagles Coach Andy Reid put T.O. in a timeout or T.O. put himself in exile. Either way, Terrell Owens returned to his house in South Jersey, shot baskets, got his ab machine out and did an ab workout before the media in his driveway. Fans went to his house, he opened the door, signed a few autographs, and even went on camera for the press.

Terrell Owens, meet Jerry Seinfeld's "Bizarro World."

Reports out of Philadelphia indicate that Owens was supposed to be nursing his tweaked groin when Coach Andy Reid spotted him on a separate field running full-bore sprints. Hard to tell what happened from there, whether Coach Reid asked Owens if he could run all-out sprints why wasn't he practicing with the team or why was he running all-0ut sprints when he should have been nursing his injury. Subsequently, they had a heated argument.

And Andy Reid reminded Terrell Owens that he who runs the team has more power over Eagles' football than he who runs his own mouth.

What a mess.

What type of legacy does T.O. think he's leaving? Tell you what, if you play word association games and mention T.O., you'll probably hear "pain", "selfish" and "annoying" as much as you'll hear "great player." Or more. He is a great player, but he's doing a lot in his present environment to make everyone understand that while the 49ers were having their problems and weren't very good two years ago, T.O. must have created a lot of his own trouble. Somewhere, Steve Mariucci is saying "I told you so."

NFL careers go by with the blink of an eye. Two defensive players held out on the Chicago Bears in 1985 and missed playing on a Super Bowl champion. After that missed year, Al Harris and Todd Bell weren't the same players. It wasn't because they missed a Super Bowl; it was because they missed a season. T.O. is getting up there in football years. What could he be thinking?

His babysitter, err, agent, Drew Rosenhaus, flew to the Philadelphia area today to do damage control. After he stops spinning to the press, he should start talking to his client, advise him to grow up, honor his commitments, and complete what could well be a Hall of Fame career. There's one hitch though -- some modern players, unlike Jerry Rice, just don't want to listen. They assume that their great gifts transcend the ball field to most of life's endeavors, and, as such, don't want to listen that much, if at all. Sometimes an agent or lawyer does his best work by standing up to his clients and telling them when they're wrong (and telling them how to save face).

Last off-season, there was a fiasco involving the 49ers, the Ravens and the Eagles. The winner was Philadelphia, clearly, even though it was a case of "be careful what you wish for." When the Eagles got T.O., they knew that they were getting a great talent, even if he required a lot of maintenance. For most of last season, T.O. played very well and conducted himself admirably. But, as with most dormant volcanoes, they erupt eventually. It took T.O. one year.

And after he signed a big contract. A contract that he didn't have to sign. A very lucrative contract. Okay, so it's not the "top" contract, but, again, T.O. signed it.

Which means he should honor it. During his time off, he should read books about the importance of team, of honoring commitments, of keeping one's own counsel, and of drawing less attention to one's self. They can only help.

He certain doesn't need to watch TV, especially the daytime soaps.

Because right now, he's playing the lead in a reality version.

And not a very good one at that.

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