Nowhere else to go
Like it or not, T.O., Eagles are stuck with each other
From Don Banks..SI
Oh, T.O. Now where do you go?
After getting tossed out of the Philadelphia Eagles training camp on Wednesday and then conducting a combined workout/press conference in his driveway, Terrell Owens has not only painted himself into a corner again, he's hung up dry wall, some faux wood paneling and started to decorate tastefully.
Predicting what's going to happen next in the Owens saga is always a dicey proposition. But I'm pretty sure what's not going to take place after T.O. takes his week-long T.O. (time out). He's not going to get his wish of being traded or released by Philadelphia in 2005. Ain't happening, football fans. Eagles owner Jeff Lurie and team president Joe Banner would rather suit up head coach Andy Reid himself at receiver than give in and let Owens win this messy little showdown that officially reached carnival status on Wednesday. Owens will play for the Eagles -- or he won't play at all.
We'll round up the usual suspects for you, but you'll see that a trade for Owens just isn't much of an option. Because it really does take two to tango, and trust us, the Eagles are partner-less in this dance for the time being.
Said one veteran club executive of Owens Thursday morning: "He's got no value in the league right now. There's no one who will take on that problem. He's got nowhere to go. After that performance yesterday, in his driveway, no one's going to make a move to get him and then have to give that guy more money. He's Philly's problem.''
Here's where Owens isn't going, and we'll start with the most frequently mentioned trade possibilities and work backward to the patently absurd:
• Oakland -- Yeah, we know it fits Al Davis' M.O. He loves the renegades. The rabble-rousers. He'd drool over the chance to team T.O. up with Randy Moss and have Kerry Collins throw deep every down. Blah, blah, blah.
Don't hold your breath denizens of the black and silver. The Raiders are loaded at receiver and just gave Jerry Porter $7 million in signing bonus this offseason. If the Raiders turned around and traded Porter to the Eagles for Owens, they'd have to take all the acceleration of Porter's bonus on their cap, and then still have to give Owens a boatload of new money at some point. All for the privilege of having him and Moss in the same combustible locker room. Does that really make sense?
• Baltimore -- Over Ozzie Newsome's dead body. Yeah, the Eagles finally made the Super Bowl with T.O., but it turns out the Ravens were the real winners for losing the Owens sweepstakes last offseason. Look at all the fun they missed. Owens dissed Baltimore and accused Newsome, the Ravens' respected general manager, of racially charged comments. That bridge wasn't just burnt, it was blown to smithereens.
• San Francisco -- Not in a billion years would the ***** organization welcome back their long, national nightmare. And besides, new San Francisco head coach Mike Nolan just came from Baltimore (see above).
• Dallas -- Bill Parcells and T.O.? Are you kidding me? Parcells' ticker couldn't take it. The Antonio Bryant jersey-tossing incident would seem like a nice, playful gesture compared to the first time T.O. tried his act on the Tuna. And Owens wouldn't work in the Cowboys' offense, anyway, because he wouldn't be allowed to even step foot on the star in the middle of the field at Texas Stadium.
• Washington -- Joe Gibbs and Laveranues Coles couldn't co-exist, and Coles is a cupcake who wouldn't even register on the T.O. scale of volatility. Plus, the Redskins have no cap room until '12. Not even Daniel Snyder would fall for this one.
• Atlanta -- Sure, they need a No. 1 receiver for Michael Vick. But the last time Rich McKay went along with the idea of trading for a high-maintenance type with a big ego, he wound up working with Jon Gruden in Tampa Bay. And we all know how that relationship turned out for McKay.
• Cleveland -- What? With Kellen Winslow due back healthy in '06? OK, we'll give you that one.
• Denver -- If only Owens played running back, you'd be on to something.
• New York Giants -- T.O.'s not really a Tom Coughlin-type, is he?
• Minnesota -- The Vikings just had the guy who played only when he wanted to play. Why settle for the imitation?
• Green Bay -- Brett Favre would never allow it. He's kind of against the notion of receivers holding out.
• Detroit -- Too many receivers. Too much history with Steve Mariucci.
Which leaves us with the only obvious team that will offer Owens a uniform in '05: Philadelphia.
Sure, the Owens headache has got to be approaching migraine level for Reid, Banner and Lurie by now. But with its depleted receiving depth chart, Philadelphia desperately needs Owens. But no matter how much it hurts, the Eagles will let him sit at home and try to win without him before they release him, give him away in trade, or renegotiate his deal.
My guess is that in a week, once the hysteria has died down a bit, Owens returns to the field with the Eagles and gets on with the business of picking up his 17 regular-season paychecks. As for Reid, he'll plaster that steady-as-she-goes look on his face, spin it the best way he can, and say Owens is under contract and expected to help Philadelphia win this season.
There's really not much else either side can do. Owens isn't going to forfeit his $3.5 million salary this season, and the Eagles aren't going to either give him away or reward him for the trouble he has caused.
Just remember. No matter how far you stray, there's always a way to come back home. We can thank Ricky Williams -- who last year was the story that wouldn't go away -- for teaching us that much. If Williams can return to Miami and play for a no-nonsense type like new Dolphins head coach Nick Saban, T.O. can find his way back to Philly in a week and some how co-exist this year with Reid, Donovan McNabb and the rest of his Eagles teammates.
Where does T.O. go? Back to the only team willing to have him at this point.