22 July 2005

Terrell Owens is an idiot.

Okay, maybe this isn't as important a talking point as the new SCOTUS appointment, but now that Travis Henry is a Titan and the Eagles won't be sending T.O. and Buckhalter up to Buffalo for Henry and Moulds, it's time to sound off.

T.O. is an idiot.

There it is. I'm a die-hard Eagle fan. I've been so for 31 years; I will be so for another 131, and no amount of money is worth what he's doing to his career, his name, and his legacy.

So for those who haven't paid too much attention to this, a brief summary: Perennial highlight-reel/motormouth wide receiver Terrell Owens signed a 7-year, $49-million dollar contract with the Eagles last year. Including signing bonus, he made a shade over $10 million last year. He had a hell of a season, catching for well over 1000 yards and 14 touchdowns before breaking his leg in December. With surgically-inserted screws in his leg, he played in the Superbowl 6 weeks later and caught for 122 yards in a truly awesome performance. He won the love, devotion, and admiration of one of the toughest blue-collar fan bases in the country.

This year, he will make about $3.2 million. After retaining a new agent in the offseason, he has decided that he wants to renegotiate his contract to get some more guaranteed money. He has further decided that the way to do this is to threaten to sit out this year.

First, I will contend that, for various reasons including an inept agent, he didn't get the best contract he could have last year. He got far less up-front money than someone of his talent would normally get (note, I didn't say "deserved").

Second, the generally accepted consensus is that if the Eagles guaranteed his roster bonus of $5M next spring, he'd be happy as a clam. Instead, he's worried they'll cut him rather than spring for the $5M and then he'll be a 32-year-old free agent.

Third, he's one of the top 3 wide recievers in the league, with Randy Moss and Marvin Harrison. He's real, real good.

But he decided to piss off an entire city by saying that he's underpaid and won't play for his 1-year-old contract. That's certainly his right, but I can still call him an idiot. There's a couple reasons I feel this claim is valid.

First, there's more ways to be paid than on the field. I've never understood why so many players never learned the lessons from Michael Jordan, who made far more money in endorsements than he ever did on the basketball court. T.O. is handsome, talented, and outgoing. He's not a head case like Moss or a supremely private person like Harrison. He loves attention. So why didn't his agent go out there and get him some commercial deals? Now, T.O.'s a friggin' carnival with circling media vultures continually getting him to say increasingly stupid things. Who wants that on their billboards?

Second, there is no way that the average fan is going to support a guy who wants to make $9M instead of $7M. Those numbers are so mind-boggling that we can't relate, and when he says that he's "just trying to take care of my family." we know that's an entire load of bullcrap, because anyone could take care of their family for the rest of their lives on a couple million, much less an extra $2M a year.

Third, the average fan can love football, but knows he'll never have the talent of T.O., so he doesn't dream of being him. The average fan can know football, but knows he'll never know the game like a coach, so he doesn't dream of being a head coach. However, the average fan does dream of owning a football franchise. We're all fantasy football team owners now. So when push comes to shove, I believe we're all going to side with team management these days.

Fourth, if he went out and played well this year and helped the Eagles get to the Superbowl, there's no way he'd be cut next year and that $5M would certainly be his.

T.O. is an idiot because he picked a battle he couldn't possibly win. Even if he gets his money, he's still tainted. Even if he goes and plays this year, the fans won't forget this. Certainly the folks who vote for the Hall of Fame won't forget it. And right now, he couldn't sell a cheesesteak in Philly.

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