Friday, December 16, 2005

I've got to hand it to him

He's a disruptive attention-hound who blows apart team cohesion, but give Terrell Owens a little due credit: he's not a dummy. Indeed, he grabs headlines nearly as well as he grabs footballs, which is why this Giants fan is writing Eagles stories all the live-long day. If this particular story is accurate, I can see Owens' point.

He rehabbed like mad from an injury that ought to have ended his season and was the best player on the field. (He should have joined Dallas' Chuck Howley [SB V] as the only losing players to win the game MVP.) In return he feels that the Eagles didn't recognize that effort, just as he bitched about Philly ignoring his 100th career touchdown. It was, to him, more of the same neglect. He's got a great point about Chad Johnson, too - in fact, Johnson is rather explicit about playing "can you top this?" with TO when it comes to endzone celebrations.

(Nor is this anything new. The reason the league initially started giving out 15-yard penalties for excessive celebration was that the endzone stuff began requiring a team choreographer, sometimes with five or six offensive players doing a brief routine. In reply defenders seized upon Mark Gastineau's famed "sack dance" - which looked almost epileptic to me, like he was so jacked he couldn't help himself - and began developing their own "signature moves" after big plays, from Mike Strahan's innocuous bicep flex to John Randle's lifting his leg over the fallen QB.)

Now, a little exuberance is one thing. Running to the center stripe in Dallas and spiking the logo is another. It's the difference between joie de vie and showing up your opponents. Dude, of course someone on the other team is going to clock you. (George Teague, in this case - the same man who, while at the University of Alabama, came up with one of the more memorable interceptions during their national championship year in '92.) And the media bitching? Sabotaging the 49ers and then nearly the Eagles? Refusing to report to Baltimore after his trade? Obviously TO's thinking was that Kyle Boller was one of the five worst starters in the league - but doesn't that mean that he should have loved playing for McNabb, one of the five best, in an offense that features tons of passing? Making the Super Bowl for the first time wasn't worth what he's complaining about?

It goes right back to "disruptive attention-hound." Not from ego, per se, but the simple desire to feel appreciated. Manny Ramirez is much the same way, which is why every once in a while he gets in a funk and dogs it for a week or so; then they tell him they love him and he hits .375 the next month. It's almost endearing. You can't quite say the same of Owens, but in the wake of this interview with GQ, I suddenly see a glimmer of light for him. I was already pretty certain that, sooner or later, someone would play him; but now there will be more play for his services. People will say (perhaps foolishly) that they can give him that attention and keep him happy, so that his talent rules his unruly behavior. I don't see calculation here; I see a kid (for all his years, in many ways TO is a big kid) who loves playing, who knows he's great, and is jumping about saying "Hey, Dad, watch this one! Did you see? Wasn't that awesome?" The Eagles aren't the kind of organization to do this, so they'll send him someplace that will.

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