What a surprise, TO is unhappy in Philly
Owens at it again
Wideout unhappy with production prior to injury, knocks teammates
Posted: Thursday January 6, 2005 1:09PM; Updated: Thursday January 6, 2005 4:47PM
It's bad enough that Eagles fans had to suffer through a pair of in-season exhibition games and a bye week before finding out whether this year's playoff's will heap more misery on them. It's even worse that their team must work its way toward Super Bowl XXXIX (as participants this time, not ticketholders) without primary weapon Terrell Owens. Now, they have to confront the year's first stench of real controversy. And El Hombre isn't talking about naked Housewives.
Wednesday, Philadelphia Inquirer columnist and loud NBA analyst Stephen A. Smith set out for T.O.'s house to write the "Rehabbing Star Works Toward Return" story. Instead, he was treated to the first Philadelphia performance of "Terrell Owens, Frustrated Egomaniac." During the course of what seemed to be a lengthy sit-down, Owens gave fans real hope that should the Eagles end their Buffalo Bills JV imitation and actually reach the Big Game, he'll be there, in pads, ready to go. "It's looking better and better," he told Smith.
Excellent. Keep doing those ankle exercises, Terrell. We're all rooting for you.
Then came the napalm. Seems the last five games in which Owens played (including the Dec. 19 tilt against the Cowchips in which he was injured) weren't happy ones for the wide receiver. OK, so he did have some fun against Green Bay, catching eight passes for 161 yards and a touchdown. But the rest of it left him "frustrated as to how my production had gone down."
There it is, folks. Anyone who had the "over" in the Terrell Owens Bad Teammate pool had better pay up. By the time he had finished speaking with Smith, T.O. had reverted to the form that had made him such a favorite with quarterbacks and offensive coaches in San Francisco. He complained about not getting the ball enough, even though the Eagles raged to a 13-1 record while he was available. He revealed that he could have "said more" about it, too, but kept his mouth shut to promote harmony. Thanks, Terrell! He even issued a "be careful what you wish for" warning to fellow wideouts Freddie Mitchell and Todd Pinkston, who must now step up, after (unhappily) playing supporting roles throughout the year. Though Owens tried to wrap it all up in a tidy "we're a team in everything we do" package, he couldn't stop himself from spewing enough toxins to make a testy run-up to what could be another postseason disaster even more tense.
Now, Smith reports that Owens "went out of his way to give both QB Donovan McNabb and coach Andy Reid credit" -- as if lauding a Pro Bowl quarterback and one of the NFL's best two or three coaches requires a detour -- but it's clear that Owens believed he was done wrong. Maybe Reid was trying to avoid squeezing into the world's largest Spandex suit, his penalty if Owens had caught 15 TD passes. Perhaps McNabb was under orders to get others involved. Only Oliver Stone could know for sure.
The official line from Reid will be that T.O.'s latest won't be a distraction. He may even "clear the air" with the wide receiver. Obedient Eagle players, who rarely speak out against the ruling party -- or each other -- will no doubt say something like, "That's just T.O. being T.O." The public fallout will be minimal. But doesn't Owens understand that such comments are at best distractions and at worst big-time wedges that can divide a team? Apparently, he doesn't.
He is right about his statistical drop-off. Through the first nine games, he caught 55 passes and scored 12 times. In the five games after that, he had 22 receptions and hit paydirt twice. But three of those contests (Washington twice, New York Giants) were against teams in the top eight versus the pass. And one (Dallas), featured Owens' injury.
El Hombre isn't here to defend Reid or McNabb. As long as he was getting the ball, he was a happy guy, willing to say beautiful things about the Eagles. Just imagine what would be happening if Owens hadn't been hurt against the Cowboys, and he had chosen (you know he couldn't have controlled himself) to pop off before a playoff game in which he would be playing. In a week which saw Randy Moss conveniently forget that 0:01 separates 0:02 from 0:00, and Shaun Alexander complain of being "stabbed in the back" because he didn't get to run the ball in from one yard out and tie for the NFL rushing title, Owens' remarks jet to the top of the charts. Not only has he whined about insufficient statistical love, but he also strafed his teammates. "A number of those guys have wanted an opportunity to get more playing time and more balls thrown in their direction," he said. "It's no secret that (Freddie Mitchell) has wanted the ball more, that (Todd) Pinkston wants to be more involved in the offense, etc. So now these guys will get a chance to show what they can do -- without me.
"Hopefully, it won't be a repeat situation of pre-T.O. But, God, I hope not."
Eagles fans, double up on that Prevacid. Break out the blood pressure medication. It's playoff time again. And T.O. has just made a pressure-packed situation even crazier. Get well soon, Terrell. There are passes to be caught, er, a championship to be won.
Re: What a surprise, TO is unhappy in Philly
T.O. is a good receiver, but it's hard to see him helping a "team" Too focused on self