Friday, June 01, 2012

The end of Terrell Owens football career (finally)

Terrell Owens’ football career ended Tuesday when the Allen Wranglers of the Indoor Football League came to the same conclusion each of the 32 teams in the National Football League realized after the 2010 NFL season – Terrell Owens was no longer worth the bother he once was. The Wranglers cut Owens. The Indoor Football League not to be confused with the Arena Football League is a 16 team indoor football league. If nothing else the Wranglers and the IFL have ‘enjoyed’ their 15 minutes of fame as a direct result of ending Terrell Owens football career.

Due to his high profile status and his accomplishments in the NFL, the Wranglers signed Owens with high expectations of positive things for the team, the league and the community – that according to a Wranglers press release.

“It is difficult to look other players on this team in the eyes and tell them that being a team player is important...that giving it your all on the field every night is our expectation, when another member of this team is not operating by these standards”, stated team President and Co-Owner Tommy Benizio. ”The proverbial straw that broke the camel's back for Mr. Owens was his no – show to a scheduled appearance at a local children's hospital with other Wrangler players and coaches. It is not the desire of the Allen

Wranglers' organization to disappoint fans by having our most notable player miss a scheduled appearance.”
Team owner Jon Frankel said “Our fans are amongst the best in the league and it is impossible to maintain a player when even our fans notice and comment on a player's lack of effort both on and off the field. We need to do what is best for this team, our fans and this community.”

The Wranglers clearly had little if any understanding as to the ‘character’ of the player they were signing. Owens has always had a great deal of talent on a football field. However once the cheering ends more often than not been Owens has been a cancer to the team’s he’s played with – far too much trouble for what he offered on a football field.

Some of the highlights of Terrell Owens the “football player”:

During his weekly Philadelphia sports radio show on WIP (AM) prior to the game against the Dallas Cowboys early in the 2005 season, Owens stated if he could return to the 2004 off-season he would not have signed with the Eagles. After the Dallas game, in which the Eagles were badly beaten, Owens was seen by Philadelphia Daily News reporters wearing a Michael Irvin throwback football jersey on the way to the Eagles airplane flight. Irvin was a hall-of-fame wide receiver for the Cowboys during the '90s when the Cowboys-Eagles rivalry was perhaps at its most intense. Ironically, as a 49er Owens had drawn the ire of Cowboys fans when he celebrated a touchdown by dancing on the midfield logo at Texas Stadium on a game on September 24, 2000.

Owens' appearance in the jersey was seen as provocative in the Philadelphia press and by many fans. According to sources and Andy Reid's post-game press conference, none of Owens' teammates or coaches challenged him at the time. The following Friday, on Owens' radio show, he stated he did not care what the fans thought of him wearing the jersey and that he would wear what he chooses.

The Eagles suspended Owens for four games for conduct detrimental to the team. Following the suspension the Eagles deactivated him from their roster for the remainder of the season, so that they wouldn't be forced to release him and let him sign on with another team.

Owens agent Drew Rosenhaus held a press conference with Owens at Owens' Moorestown Township, New Jersey residence. Owens read a prepared statement (an apology). Rosenhaus answered all the questions the media asked with a curt “next question”.

On November 15, 2004, Owens, wearing a Philadelphia Eagles uniform, appeared with popular TV actress Nicollette Sheridan (of the ABC series Desperate Housewives, in character as Edie Britt) in an introductory skit which opened that evening's Monday Night Football telecast, in which Owens and the Eagles played the Cowboys at Texas Stadium. Some observers (especially then-Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy) condemned the skit as being sexually suggestive because of Sheridan removing a towel, and ABC later apologized for airing it.

Some media outlets in Dallas reported on the morning of September 27, 2006 that Owens had tried to kill himself by intentionally ingesting an overdose of hydrocodone, a pain medication. A police report filed on the night of September 26 all but confirmed the attempt, saying that Owens' publicist, Kim Etheredge, found him unresponsive with an empty bottle of pain killers, pried two pills from his mouth, and called 9-1-1, after which an ambulance transported him four blocks from his Deep Ellum condo to Baylor University Medical Center.

On May 8, 2012 Terrell Owens appeared on the Dr. Phil Show with the mothers of 3 of his children to discuss relationships. The mothers were complaining that Terrell Owens was not involved in his children's lives though Terrell Owens has met each of his children. Whoever suggested to Owens he might benefit from appearing on the Dr. Phil show clearly didn’t realize what Owens would look like after three women appeared on the nationally syndicated show each embarrassing Terrell Owens for missed child support payments and his lack of any interest in being a father.

Owens made $80 million during his 13-year NFL career. Owens NFL career ended in 2010 when the Bengals signed him to a one-year contract. On the field during the 2010 season Owens delivered seventy-two catches and nine TDs for nearly a thousand yards, a solid season. Owens turned 36 at the end of the 2010 season, the Bengals focused on the big picture when it came to Terrell Owens, not resigning the enigmatic receiver.

"It's not his knee that's the problem; it's his attitude," says an executive at one of the better teams, who didn't want to be named a GQ Magazine profile on Owens. “The ratio that once made it worth it for owners to sign him—two parts genius to two parts trouble—has shifted now that he is not quite as fast, his body not as reliable.

"He may have been less openly divisive with the Bengals," the exec continues, "but you can't live down the destruction of all those years. With T.O., no matter how brilliant he can be on the field, the dark side is always lurking. You don't know which T.O. you're going to get, and no one is comfortable risking that."

Owens lost his fortune by, as he suggested in the GQ profile,taking the wrong advice from the wrong people and putting his trust in others. An ill-fated Alabama entertainment complex (with an electronic-bingo component) cost him $2 million. His New Jersey home the site of his infamous Eagles press conference that
ended his career in Philadelphia cost him $3.9 million to build as was sold for $1.7 million in late 2010.
That’s no were near the reported $80 million Owens claims to have lost, but it exhibits a clear pattern of financial mistakes.

In talking with GQ earlier this year Owens remains both defiant and bitter about his experience with the Eagles.

"Some of the things in Philadelphia. I was not paid competitively, and that was that," he says. "The teams talk about how we should keep to our end of the bargain, but then they dump you at the point at which you'd actually start earning out, and that is supposed to be okay. Why don't they need to keep up their end?"
Does Terrell Owens future include one last NFL more team giving the now 38-year old one last shot at glory? No. Owens has missed the last two NFL seasons. He was cut by an Arena Football League team.

Off the field it’s the same old Terrell Owens too much of a distraction.

Will Terrell Owens be a member of the Football Hall of Fame one day – yes. Some of his career highlights: Through 15 seasons, has 156 total touchdowns (153 receiving), 15,934 receiving yards, 1,078 receptions, 39 rushing attempts, 251 rushing yards, 3 rushing touchdowns, 5 kickoff returns, 23 kickoff return yards, 2 fumble recoveries, 13 fumble return yards, and 3 two point conversions, and 3rd player to reach 150 touchdown receptions, 3rd player to reach 15,000 receiving yards.

On the field Terrell Owens defined greatness – off the field time and time again he embarrassed the team he played for, the National Football League and when all is said and done Terrell Owens embarrassed himself. That is the real tragedy of the life and times of Terrell Owens, greatness lost by an inability to behave himself.

For Sports Business News this is Howard Bloom

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