Age, baggage keeping T.O. unemployed
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Back in March 2009, I was surprised when the Dallas Cowboys released WR Terrell Owens. My first thought was that something happened, such as a fight with a coach, teammate, or maybe a problem off the field. But at that point I was thinking only about a receiver who was consistently good for over 1,000 yards and 10 touchdown receptions in every season.
And then I went and read Bill Barnwell's excellent article that pointed out that then 35-year-old Owens is old (for an NFL wide receiver). He went on to explain that wide receivers over age 32 don't tend to bounce back from a bad season, and Owens certainly didn't bounce back in Buffalo last season since he was ranked as the 70th best wide receiver by Football Outsiders. In reality the Cowboys padded his stats because they threw the ball so often to him and he hurt the team by catching those pass attempts at a low rate of 54.3% over three seasons.
Despite all the bad news on the field, he should still have a job in the NFL somewhere. For his career he's averaged 14.9 yards per catch, and last season his average was 15.1. At 6'3" and 224 lbs., he still should have some advantage against smaller defensive backs. However it doesn't appear that any NFL team believes he should be starting. There is no reason he couldn't provide depth as a quality 4th or 5th receiver on a team that is looking for a veteran to be a mentor to their younger players, and a proven starter in case of an injury.
But does anyone expect he'd sign with a team for the veteran's minimum to become the 4th wide receiver? And even if he did, would any team take the chance that he'll become a distraction because he'll become disillusioned as a bench player? Does any NFL team really want The T.O. Show anywhere near their team?
While he should still be playing in the NFL, the baggage he brings doesn't offset what he can still do to help on offense.
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