The League

Peter Schaffer
NFL Agent

Peter Schaffer

Agent and professor of sports law

T.O. Spells No

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The Dallas Cowboys' release of the talented and aging Terrell Owens raises the question he'll ever play again. To his detriment, the wide receiver has made his bed and he will now lie in it. His explosive talent and selfish personality spell disaster for any of the 31 NFL teams who might sign him.

As players advance in their careers, character becomes more important to longevity than talent. Superstar players, blessed with incredible physical talents, who have been a burden to their team and the league, will never get to see additional years after their talents diminish. Only players with humility and a stringent work ethic will last past their prime. The most noted example is the future hall of fame running back Jerome Bettis. Because of his years of unselfishness, the "Bus" was re-signed by the Steelers for 3 years after his 30th birthday and became a vital piece to their Super Bowl run in 2006. But for his character, his diminished skills would have prevented the team from giving him a chance to win his only Super Bowl ring.

Owens' tarnished career is replete with self destructive behavior which has tainted every stop he has made. From the 'Niners, who could not trade him fast enough, to the Eagles (to whom he assisted in getting to the Super Bowl) who released him joyfully and now the Cowboys (to whom everyone thought was a match made in Jerry Jones' heaven), he has burned every bridge along the way. He has alienated quarterbacks, teammates, management and most importantly fans. That the Cowboys released him after extending his contract just a year ago, is a major red flag. Perhaps they realized what other teams realized years ago -- that despite his immense talents he cannot functionally co-exist in a team environment.

Sometime next season, due to an injury or poor performance by other players, we'll debate whether to bring in Owens for a minimum wage contract with no guarantees as a stop gap measure. However, the thought process of the league will prevent a team from pulling the trigger on such a deal. Teams will have to wonder if Owens, who was un-controllable and selfish when he was one of the higher paid and pampered receivers, could play as "just a guy" with a small contract. Would he be more of a cancer when making the minimum? The NFL isn't the NBA or baseball, where individual talent overrides teamwork. locker room harmony is a must.

Chances are the next time we see Owens will be in a reality show rather than an NFL stadium. Owens has created this scenario for himself and has only his confidantes to blame. NFL teams will have no place on their rosters for him, except perhaps a team desperate for production or looking to make a splash -- a team like the Raiders. Beyond that, the door has been slammed shut on Owens' career.

By Peter Schaffer  |  March 5, 2009; 11:34 PM ET  | Category:  Dallas Cowboys , Oakland Raiders , Peter Schaffer Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Good article Peter, however I do think he'll get a chance to play again and this upcoming season. I compare him to Dennis Rodman. People thought when he came to the Bulls he would be a cancer and they couldn't be successful but Phil Jackson and MJ forced him to fall in line and they won three championships with the "worm".

I think TO needs to go to a team like the Patriots to play with Tom Brady, Randy Moss (who people thought would ruin the chemistry of the Patriots) and be coached by Bill Belicheck and he will fall in line because there no disputing who's team it is and he realizes that he's at the end of his career and all he's ever wanted to do is win. Let's look at the positives he brings to the table, he works out harder than anyone on the team and he does indeed have a passion and the drive to win. He gets upset because of how bad he wants to win and he calls people out if they aren't doing their job. He might even be able to thrive in Indy with Peyton's team since Marivn is gone and I could also see the Giants bringing him in because of the whole Plaxico situation. I could also see the Steelers taking a chance on him. All the teams I have mentioned have already won Championships and that's all TO wants and he will shut up and fall in line because he will realize that this is his last chance.

Just my 2 cents.

Posted by: JimBeam2 | March 6, 2009 2:15 PM

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