The League

David Aldridge
Sports Reporter

David Aldridge

A nationally recognized sports journalist.

T.O.'s Longest Yard


Terrell Owens has no one but himself to blame for his current predicament. A player ("The" player) with his skills and record of production should have a dozen teams lining up for his services. But who wants to deal with the toxicity that T.O. brings to the locker room, the steel-bending pressure he puts on a quarterback to get him the ball every Sunday, the me-firstism that rips at the fabric of a team?

Not many.

A team that signs T.O. now, at 36, has to have several qualities, all equally important:

1) A quarterback established enough and strong-willed enough to tell T.O. to shut up when he starts barking. This eliminates any team with a young, developing, impressionable and/or first-year starter (a list that includes the likes of Washington, Houston, Kansas City, Chicago, Atlanta, Tampa Bay and, presumably, Detroit, if the Lions draft and start Matthew Stafford);

2) A program close enough to Super Bowl contention that bringing the likes of T.O. about would be worth all the trouble. This eliminates rebuilding programs in San Francisco, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Seattle and Cleveland;

3) A head coach and/or staff that is not from either the Parcells or Andy Reid coaching trees, each of whom had his team wrecked by T.O.'s antics. This eliminates Minnesota (head coach Brad Childress had several run-ins with T.O. while he was the Eagles' offensive coordinator in 2004 and 2005), New England (can't see Bill Belichick taking a flier on another diva wide receiver, anyway), New York (Tom Coughlin coached Parcells' wide receivers with the Giants), Baltimore (John Harbaugh was Philly's special teams coordinator), New Orleans (Sean Payton was the Tuna's offensive coordinator in Dallas) and Miami and Philly (obviously);

4) A need at wide receiver. Scratch off Arizona (assuming Anquan Boldin ultimately stays in the fold), Indianapolis and Denver (assuming Brandon Marshall isn't in prison as you read this);

5) Ownership with a history of taking on reclamation projects, and/or a community that wouldn't be overwhelmed by the arrival of a prancing, preening show-horse like T.O. Write off Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Green Bay and San Diego.

That leaves a handful of possibles: the Jets, Carolina, Tennessee, Jacksonville and Oakland. Rex Ryan isn't the shy type himself, and in New York, Owens would be just another egomaniac. Carolina and Tennessee both have veteran quarterbacks in Jake Delhomme and Kerry Collins, and while John Fox doesn't seem to be the T.O. type, he does have experience dealing with a high-maintenance wide receiver in Steve Smith. The Jaguars are a longshot -- not a big enough stage for a prima donna like T.O. -- but Oakland, obviously, intrigues, with its track record of embracing malcontents, Al Davis's love of the deep ball and its proximity to San Francisco, where this T.O. mess began. You can imagine he'd love to go out a star on the other side of the Bay.

However, there's another team that is a perfect fit for Owens. It has all the qualities: strong ownership, a history of playing guys with shady pasts, a strong-willed quarterback who doesn't take any mess from anybody and a locker room that would be able to handle T.O. if he started getting out of line. It really is perfect for him:

The Mean Machine, led by quarterback Paul (Wrecking) Crewe.

Mr. Rosenhaus, Warden Hazen on line two.

By David Aldridge  |  March 6, 2009; 9:35 AM ET  | Category:  Dallas Cowboys , David Aldridge Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Terrell Owens To DC | Next: When Personality Trumps Performance


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Where should T.O. go? Away.

His egocentric antics are a distraction to any team- who needs this loser?

Posted by: bvoight | March 6, 2009 11:09 AM

I'm missing how getting the ball to TO is "pressure".

What's "pressure" is having TWO receivers who both want the ball, a RB who wants the ball and a team that's getting beat 44-3 on the last day of the regular-season by a team that they absolutely need to beat just to get into the playoffs.

And the person who is not handling that pressure is Romo.
You can talk about how TO is causing that pressure but the real source of pressure is that he is a great receiver who scores touchdowns and you are playing offense against a defense that wants to score touchdowns by intercepting your passes and returning them for scores. The biggest problem with TO, if there is a problem with TO, is that you have to throw the ball to him to be effective and each pass to him is a potential TAINT. But the solution is not to get rid of TO, if that is the answer you might as well get rid of *all* your WRs. Just run the ball. The problem is that Romo lacks anything resembling a spine and simply can't handle the pressure of being the Cowboys' QB, he's the NFL equivalent of A-Rod.

Don't get rid of your speed position players, get a QB who can handle them!

I laugh at Jerry Jones because ultimately he's the Cowboys' main problem, and as long as he's running the team they're going nowhere. Send TO to some other team and watch them make it to the SuperBowl. Fine :) The only team that he has not been to the SB with is the freaking Cowboys! The message is clear: TO is not the problem, the teams that he has played on are the problem.

Posted by: dubya19391 | March 6, 2009 12:25 PM

TO should be evaluated in one way and in one way only: pass attempts, completions, drops and picks on pass attempts of well-thrown balls (meaning the defender reacted to the ball better than TO did). All this nonsense about him presuring Romo to throw the ball to him is sheer nonsense. What is he supposed to do, run up and down the field as a distraction? He's the leading receiver on the team, the only issue with that is that he's competing with Witten in that regard. Fine. Romo has to choose to throw to one or the other or flare the ball out to Barber. Tough choices! Big pressure!

That's his effing JOB.

The Cowboys are failing because ROMO is folding under pressure, not that TO is *causing* pressure. And for a wealthy man this is a very-stupid mistake. The best that they can say about this is that they have played with TO for 3 years and gotten nowhere, now they are going to try without him. That's the only even partially-decent rationalization. But between a guy who's done nothing but catch passes & score, and a guy who's thrown 6 TD's in a pivotal game and never *really* done well in pressure situations, a guy who lost to a 5-11 team in his own division twice including once at home, a guy who makes Donovan McNabb look good? The choice is clear.

Posted by: dubya19391 | March 6, 2009 12:36 PM

"nd a guy who's thrown 6 TD's in a pivotal game"

er, 6 INT's :) sorry got carried away there

Posted by: dubya19391 | March 6, 2009 12:40 PM

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