The League

Doug Farrar
Writer

Doug Farrar

A FootballOutsiders.com staff writer

Smart Move, Bills

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A one-year contract with Terrell Owens is the perfect scenario for the Bills, or any other team who might have wished to take a shot on the Mercurial Man without suffering the long-term consequences. T.O. tends to be a model citizen early on in any situation. In San Francisco, he was an insecure youngster who dropped too many balls until a late playoff touchdown against the Packers in the 1998 wild card round brought him a first taste of stardom -- and the world a first taste of the alter ego. Soon enough, he was screaming at coaches on the sideline and throwing quarterbacks under the bus.

First year in Philly? He makes a miracle comeback from a broken leg and shreds New England's defense in the Super Bowl, in what would have been an MVP performance had Philly wound up with the three-point win instead of the Pats. The next year? Total nightmare. He blew the team apart.

There were very few problems in Dallas his first year -- he knew that Bill Parcells wasn't going to put up with his garbage. Parcells, who referred to Owens as "the player", kept him in line with the same psychiatric genius and acidic personality he's used to mold teams for three decades. As soon as Parcells was out the door and Wade Phillips was inserted as a more malleable mouthpiece, all hell broke loose again.

There's a pattern here -- T.O. is a great first date and a rotten partner.

It was smart of the Bills to step in with the one-year deal. Owens has to know that if even Jerry Jones -- a man who will accept just about any character flaw as long as the rings keep coming -- lets him go, he's damaged goods... possibly beyond repair. He will be on his best behavior, and he will add greatly to the production of an offense that finished 26th in Football Outsiders' Offensive Passing DVOA statistic in 2008. He won't do it for the team giving him another chance, or the teammates who are no doubt already on edge, or the reputation he's just about destroyed despite his incendiary talent. No, he'll do it for the possibility that another franchise will take the bait after the Good T.O. shows up for another year.

Now, he's playing for time -- and time's running out. That's why the Bills made the smart play.

By Doug Farrar  |  March 7, 2009; 10:37 PM ET  | Category:  Buffalo Bills , Dallas Cowboys Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Bills Sign Declining Star | Next: T.O. to the Rescue

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