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Old 05-10-2005, 09:02 PM   #1
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Default [Sports Central Newsletter] #124 - Terrell Owens Explained

The Sports Central Newsletter
May 2005 - Issue #124

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|-- IN THIS ISSUE... --|

- Words From the Editor
- The O-Files: "Terrell Owens Explained"
- Editor's Pick: "It's Like Riding a Bike"



Hello folks,

Apologies for sending the newsletter a week late (we always send it the first Sunday of each month); life got the better of yours truly last weekend. With that said, this week, the O-Files looks at Terrell Owens, a man always seemingly in the middle of a controversy, and as Brad writes, maybe by his own choosing.

Enjoy that, the Editor's Pick that follows, and the 10 other stories posted on the site in the last week. You can find them at https://www.sports-central.org, and, as always, you can interact with yours truly and many others on the message boards: https://boards.sports-central.org

See you in June,

-- Marc James
Sports Central Founder/Publisher
mailto:[email protected]


|-- THE O-FILES --|

"Terrell Owens Explained"
By Brad Oremland

NFL minicamps opened last weekend, and Terrell Owens was nowhere to be found. Owens, arguably the best wide receiver in the league, joined the Philadelphia Eagles last season after eight years in San Francisco. The Eagles gave him a new contract when he signed with them, but now Owens wants to change it.

It's not uncommon for players to renegotiate their contracts after breakout seasons, but Owens had made four consecutive Pro Bowls with the 49ers, so his excellent performance with Philadelphia in 2004 was not a surprise, or evidence that the contract he had signed was unfair. Statistically, Owens gave the Eagles about the amount of production they expected. During his last three seasons in San Francisco, Owens averaged 15 games, 91 receptions, 1,271 receiving yards, and 13 TDs per season. Last year in the City of Brotherly Love, Owens played 14 games, gathering 77 catches for 1,200 yards and 14 TDs. Almost identical.

Owens signed with the Eagles after getting a trade to Baltimore nullified. His agent had missed the filing deadline for free agency, but Owens somehow convinced the league that he should have been a free agent anyway. No one blames Owens for hiring a new agent after that debacle, but choosing the notorious Drew Rosenhaus whose clients teams have been known to avoid simply so they won't have to deal with him was a dubious decision. Even with that hiring, though, Rosenhaus didn't have a piece of Owens' current contract, so he convinced T.O. to demand a new one.

When Owens originally joined the team, Philadelphia gave him a contract that, at the time, apparently satisfied both parties. No team in the NFL manages its salary cap more carefully than the Eagles, and it's unlikely they would have signed him in the first place if he'd been represented by Rosenhaus and demanded a huge contract spread over only three or four years. Because of the salary cap, every team in the league spreads contracts longer than they'll actually keep the player. Agents know this, and so do players. Rosenhaus and Owens are pretending they don't have any idea how contracts work in the NFL.

Nonetheless, T.O.'s demand for a new contract shouldn't surprise anyone. Even a cursory look at Owens' career reveals a pattern of selfish behavior. A closer look makes it clear that Owens is not merely selfish and inconsiderate: he is, in fact, the most profoundly self-centered player in the history of the National Football League.

Owens first made headlines for the wrong reason during the 2000 season, when he twice ran to midfield and staged a touchdown celebration on the Dallas star. The first celebration sparked a retaliatory mimic by Emmitt Smith, the second a hit from Cowboys safety George Teague. The Niners fined Owens a game's pay and he was held out of the team's next game, although he remained on the active roster and was not technically suspended.

The story doesn't end there, though. It was troubling enough that Owens repeated his stunt, oblivious to the fact that it was almost universally perceived as classless taunting, disrespectful of his opponents and their team's proud tradition at Texas Stadium. But Owens demonstrated the true extent of his cluelessness when he compared his punishment to impeachment of the president: "It makes me feel like this was a classless act. Like President Clinton and Monica Lewinsky, that was a classless act, and he didn't even get impeached for it."

Is your jaw hanging open, like mine does every time I read that? We can forgive Owens for not knowing that Clinton actually was impeached, but it's obvious that he has no sense of context. A one-game fine is not equivalent to impeaching the president or removing him from office. The whole comparison is kind of a non sequitur.

Since the incident in Dallas, Owens has repeatedly made headlines for reasons other than his play. I'll just go down the list: the Sharpie incident, the pom-pom celebration, yelling at his coach, criticizing his quarterback, the nixed trade to Baltimore, tearing down a fan's sign, the Ray Lewis imitation, the steamy MNF opener, and now, holding out and criticizing his quarterback, part two. There have been others (personally, that shot of his gold teeth that was on TV 900 times last season annoyed me as much as any of these), but those are the highlights.

Let's be honest: none of those was a crime against humanity. I thought the Sharpie celebration was funny, and Ray Lewis, who does an elaborate two-minute dance every time he's near a tackle, had it coming. Even yelling at his coach and manipulating his contract can be forgiven; Owens isn't the only guy who does that sort of thing. Taken alone, none of these incidents is a huge problem. But when you look at the whole, the real Owens emerges.

That Owens is so entirely self-centered that he can't see things from any point of view but his own. He honestly doesn't understand why people criticize him.

What does Owens want? First and foremost, he wants to be on television. All the time. He also wants to be on the radio and in the newspapers. His current holdout is probably at least partially motivated by his desire to be in the news. He wants to be loved. I believe Owens is genuinely puzzled and mildly troubled by the negative reactions he sometimes gets.

Secondly, Owens wants to be a great football player, and he wants others to recognize his greatness. By all accounts, T.O. is in terrific shape, a physical marvel. His speedy rehabilitation from the injury that kept him out of last year's playoffs is a testament to Owens' training. With the sole exception of Randy Moss, Owens is the NFL's greatest physical talent at wide receiver, maybe even at any position. He's big, he's fast, and he works hard to make himself better.

A propos of both the above points, Owens wants respect. In professional sports, that is measured by how often you're on SportsCenter, how many jerseys you sell, and how many zeroes are in your contract.

When Owens complains about his teammates and coaches, shows up his opponents, or otherwise draws attention to himself at the expense of others, he's acting in his own interests. Everyone does that to some extent, but Owens acts in his own interests to the exclusion of all others, without even any consideration of the impact he has on anyone but himself. The guy is the Ayn Rand of the NFL. It's because of this narcissism that Owens doesn't understand why people dislike him. External standards are a mystery to the guy.

When you examine Owens in context, he is a supremely talented football player, but one whom the sport might be better off without.


Brad welcomes your feedback: mailto:[email protected]?subject=O-Files
(Copy and paste the address if it isn't clickable.)


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There have been 11 new articles posted on Sports Central in the last week. Check them all out at: https://www.sports-central.org. The Editor's Pick is:

It's Like Riding a Bike
By Vince Grzegorek

Stop us if you've heard this one. Athlete signs multimillion-dollar contract. Subsequently, athlete buys some nice toys with his new money. Athlete gets hurt in an off-field incident and can't play. Athlete loses some of his money. We give you exhibit A: Kellen Winslow, Jr.



(Thanks for reading! Next issue is set to come out on 06/05/05.)

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