I can only imagine the vitriol that this headline stirs up in the hearts of fans around the country, From San Francisco, to Philadelphia, down to Dallas and back. T.O. has left a legacy. While most people can not stand Terrell Owens, it is based on the past and not present. Does this mean that T.O. is a better person, a changed person at this point in his life? No, not necessarily. But he could be.
We have seen all the trash that has circulated through the media over the last several months regarding the future Hall of Famer. Articles decrying his character as a deadbeat dad of multiple children, a washed up star battling depression (even contemplating suicide), to a man who squandered a fortune. Most of us fail to find sympathy for the man who once said, "they love to hate me". The money that he has made and squandered is perplexing and appalling to the average American who struggles to get by. Forgetting the narrative that suggests Owens was the victim of a crooked financial adviser and greedy baby mamas, we want him to reap what he has sown. After all, he has lost more than most of us ever have the chance to ever find. How could we want him to receiver anymore second chances? It's not like we get second chances.
It's a natural human response. Especially to one whose antics clearly revealed extreme levels of narcissism, anger, and a general disregard for other human beings not named T.O. But what is it that "the player" has done to be so reviled among athletes? Has he ever been arrested for a DUI? When has he ever been charged with assault? What drug did Terrell ever get convicted of possessing or trafficking? When was the last time T.O. failed the league's substance abuse policy? How many times has Terrell manipulated league drug tests? When did he ever say, "I play when I want to play," or ask, "for who, for what"? How many animals has he harmed? Has he ever been accused of taking someone's life?
No. He has never been charged or even accused of doing any of those things. Rather he is simply recognized as a selfish guy and a bad teammate. Not glowing endorsements, but hardly crimes. In fact, if I were to ask you or any NFL personnel the most recent T.O. antic that negatively affected his team, they would have to go back to his time with the Dallas Cowboys.
Oddly enough that is years ago, and he has played briefly on two teams since. Not only was he well behaved in Buffalo, but he was the best player during his injury shortened season in Cincinnati as well. Yes there was a bit of a circus atmosphere with the whole Batman and Robin stuff, but Carson Palmer and the Bengals knew exactly what they were getting when the paired 85 with 81. They asked for it and they got it. But even with all the "fun" it was not detrimental to the team. It was his injury, not his attitude, that hurt them.
Since the ACL injury that ended his 2010 season, T.O. has dropped to some new lows. He has had great financial troubles as well as being humbled enough that he would play in the Indoor Football League. That stint didn't last very long, but it wasn't because he couldn't play or that he was a bad teammate. Rather the PR stunts that came with the job were too much for the fading star to bear.
Owens has gone to great lengths at this point to try to reshape his image, and more than likely it is too far gone. However, I think it is foolish for a team to not let him try to earn one of the many additional spots they have on the post CBA rosters. The deal doesn't have to be filled with anything but league minimums and incentives. He has publicly said he doesn't want anything more than a chance to compete. He said he was even willing to play a backup role. Do I think that the old T.O. is dead, I am not sure. But it doesn't matter.
One thing that he has established in his legacy is that he has often been praised for having a tremendous work ethic and practice habits. Why wouldn't a team with young receivers like the Jaguars, Broncos, or Browns invite him to camp. So what if he doesn't have the legs anymore? Who cares if he is still a selfish and arrogant jerk? Let him come in and show these young guys how to work through the dog days of summer. Maybe he can't show them how to be a teammate or a class act, but he can show them how to be a professional receiver who masters his craft. Maybe he will even surprise some of these teams and quietly produce like he did in Cincinnati.
You can't tell me that the Jaguars or Browns could argue with 70 receptions, a 1,000 yards and a handful of touchdowns. If it doesn't work, cut him and move on. Honestly, what do they have to lose?