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Friday, December 16, 2005

The Virus

Read this latest "woe is me" tale from Terrell Owens.

Now see if you can spot the biggest hole that T.O. dug for himself.

Hint: it wasn't with his mouth.

Keep scrolling down until you find it. That's right -- the birthday party.

It's okay that T.O. threw a birthday party for himself. There's no crime in that. What's less okay, perhaps, is that 19 Philadelphia Eagles attended. Actually, that's really bad for T.O.

According to T.O.'s logic, that's probably a good thing, because it shows that T.O. wasn't that divisive a teammate. How could he be, right, if almost half his teammates showed for his shindig? That is probably what T.O. and his agent, Drew Rosenhaus-Colored Glasses probably would argue.

But they're dead wrong.

Because it proves the opposite. And, because of that, many teams will be very wary about signing up a 32 year-old wideout and give him a chance at his third strike.

Instead of proving how popular T.O. is, the attendance at the birthday party demonstrates how divisive he can be. How? Because half the team showed up. Given that T.O. is such a lightning rod for trouble, the showing of half the team only proves that T.O. can divide a team. And if you're a coach who commands respect and wants harmony, having a guy around who can do just that is a bad thing.

Even if he's Terrell Owens.

There are all sorts of morality plays out there about players selling their souls to the devil in order to win a title. Jim Bouton wrote in "Ball Four" that the average pitcher would take a pill that he knew would help win him 20 games, even if it took five years off his life. It looks like some prominent Major League Baseballers did just that too. As did the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Eagles were one of those teams who were about a player short of the title. During the years when they lost three straight NFC title games, it was the game-breaking wide receiver. So, two seasons ago, they went out and got one -- the prodigal son (at least with his mouth), Terrell Owens. A hard bargain, to be sure. The authoritative coach, Andy Reid, takes on a malcontent, albeit an extremely talented one, and makes his bargain to get to and hopefully win a Super Bowl.

He did get to the big game, and he didn't lose it because of T.O. That's for sure. T.O. played great.

But then the wheels fell off the bus. T.O. was unhappy, and he proceeded to drag the team down with him. He disrespected the entire organization, and 19 teammates still showed up at his birthday party.

That says a few things:

1. There is so little to do in Philadelphia that 19 teammates had to limo 65 miles south down to Atlantic City for some fun.

2. The Eagles' locker room is such a mess that they went to T.O.'s party because, well, they didn't know enough not to.

3. The one-time good feelings and harmony that Donovan McNabb engendered are gone. 19 teammates perhaps made a statement that they didn't feel a need to boycott and support McNabb.

4. If Donovan McNabb doesn't assert iron-like authority as the team's leader next year, the team still will be in a spin.

5. Name your own analysis.

Now, let's set the Eagles aside for a moment. If you're a GM in need of a game-breaking wide receiver, which some would argue is the most stocked position in the league, what do you do?

a. Call Matt Millen in Detroit (if he survives the season) and ask him to trade one of (a) Mike Williams, (b) Charles Rogers or (c) Roy Williams to you.

b. Take a receiver in the first round.

c. Sign Reggie Wayne as a free agent.

d. Sign Terrell Owens.

Ironically, d. might be your cheapest option, because given his oratorical acrobatics few, if any, teams will offer him much in the way of a signing bonus or long-term deal. But, if you go that route, are you making a deal with the devil, again? Once burned, twice shy. What, then, happens the third time?

Remember, 19 teammates, who he basically walked out on, went to his birthday party. 19 teammates, perhaps, demonstrated that he fractured what was once a very healthy locker room. If you're pretty close to the playoffs or contending, do you really want this guy? Is he worth it?

Sometimes you just have to walk away. Sometimes you just have to pass.

And if I'm a GM in it for the long haul, I'd go another route.

And let T.O. become someone else's problem.

Because deep down, you'll always be waiting for an outburst.

And they usually come at the worst time.

T.O. shouldn't be so happy that so many teammates showed up at his birthday party. It was a dumb move, and it only proves to any G.M. that putting T.O. in your locker room would be like putting sodium in your water and then sticking your head over it to watch the chemical reaction.



Right in your face.


Blogger Jonathan said...

Not only is he a virus he is a cancer that infects every aspect of a team. As a Dallas Cowboys fan I pray that the Cowboys don't bring this guy to thier team,although Jerry Jones has hinted that he would think about it. Jerry Jones believes that he has a formula for reforming outcasts as he tried to do with Alonzo Spellman and Dimitrius Underwood. But these guys had ligitimet mental illnesses while TO is a illness. But knowing Philly fans I am sure that they wouldn't mind seeing TO do to Dallas what he did to the Eagles.

7:34 PM  

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