The League

Gene Wang
Fantasy Guru

Gene Wang

A sports staff writer at The Washington Post

T.O. to the Rescue

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Thanks to the aggressive move of signing Terrell Owens, the Buffalo Bills have become a factor again after years of irrelevance. The rest of the AFC better take notice.
Owens gives the Bills immediate credibility on offense. No wide receiver has caught more touchdowns over the past three seasons, and none has had more plays of at least 30 yards. That's the type of offensive chutzpah Buffalo hasn't had consistently since the glory years of the K-Gun offense.

Despite reports to the contrary, Owens's best days are not necessarily behind him. Two years ago he had 1,355 yards and 15 touchdowns. Only Randy Moss was better. Last season Owens recorded 1,052 yards and 10 touchdowns. That certainly was a significant decline in production, but factor in Owens having had Brad Johnson as his starting quarterback for three games, and he gets a pass.

Bills quarterback Trent Edwards should be especially elated Owens is joining the huddle. At each of this three previous stops, Owens has made his quarterback better, and he'll do the same this time.

Bills starting running back Marshawn Lynch also has a right to be giddy. The ground game will benefit with Owens on the field, forcing the safety who normally helps in run support to play off the line of scrimmage for fear of a lengthy play down the field. That in turn will create more running lanes.

One of the many knocks against Owens is he's not a winner. Really?

San Francisco's last playoff win came courtesy of Owens, when he caught the winning touchdown from Steve Young to beat Green Bay. Remember he held on to that ball despite two defenders blasting him in the end zone.

Philadelphia fans often can be quick to forget Owens had nine catches for 122 yards in Super Bowl XXXIX while playing with a metal plate and screws in his foot. It wasn't his fault the Eagles lost that game.

Then in Dallas, Owens was the reason why Tony Romo became a two-time Pro Bowl quarterback. In 2006, Romo rose to prominence courtesy of many deep throws to Owens. If only Romo could have handled a simple field goal snap in the playoffs against Seattle.

The following season, Owens helped Dallas go 13-3, then stood up for his quarterback after Romo threw an interception on the Cowboys' final drive to lose to the New York Giants in the NFC semifinals.

So who's the real culprit in the Cowboys' recent playoff meltdowns?

Now reports are surfacing Romo had grown weary of Owens's act, thus tipping the hand of Jerry Jones to release his enigmatic wideout. That's gratitude for you.

We all know Owens comes with a warning label, and it's not just those dropped passes. He aliened Jeff Garcia in San Francisco and feuded with Donovan McNabb in Philadelphia. Apparently his relationship with Romo was beyond repair, or why else would Jones have released his most feared playmaker?

That doesn't mean Owens can't get along with Edwards long enough for the Bills to make the AFC East more interesting this season. The media glare certainly isn't as daunting in Orchard Park, N.Y., as it was in San Francisco, Philadelphia or Dallas. Maybe this departure from the bright lights will allow Owens to concentrate simply on playing football as he ends his Hall of Fame career.

By Gene Wang  |  March 7, 2009; 11:06 PM ET  | Category:  Buffalo Bills , Dallas Cowboys , Gene Wang Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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