You probably won’t remember where you were around around 6 p.m. ET on Tuesday, May 29. It was most likely a normal day, and you were just leaving work. Maybe you were on your way to the grocery store to complete one of life’s most mundane chores, or maybe dinner preparation was nearly finished. Or, most likely, you were watching another re-run of NewsRadio, because you’re unable to shake an addiction to horrible mid-90s sitcoms.
So when you, a dearly dedicated fan of all things pigskin, heard about Terrell Owens’ latest painfully predictable and incredibly unsurprising tumble from grace, the reaction consisted of one word.
You, me, your dog, and your distant cousins saw this coming. Yet for some reason, the Allen Wranglers didn’t, likely because they were willfully ignorant during their undying pursuit of the almighty American dream. They needed to make a dollar. They had to make a dollar.
To review, Owens was cut by the Wranglers of the Indoor Football League because he failed to show ambition and any hint of effort or the ability to care about anything. He wasn’t professional, and he didn’t contribute in the meaningful way that the Wranglers had evidently–and quite foolishly–expected.
In short, he was Terrell Owens. He’s always been Terrell Owens, and that’s been his greatest obstacle.
Except this time even when we thought it was surely impossible, Owens found a new low through his unique blend of laziness of selfishness. You know all those times that we see or hear about athletes appearing in hospitals to cheer up sick kids? The athletes are smiling, and the children certainly are too, but the truth is that for some athletes it may be a show and a chore. Like any human, they have many other obligations in life, but they still smile on the outside and go through the motions while following through a community appearance that’s part of their profession.
Owens couldn’t even muster that much ambition.
From ESPN, via Dan Graziano:
Wranglers owner Jon Frankel cited Owens’ refusal to play in two upcoming road games that are critical to the Wranglers’ playoff hopes and Owens’ no-show for a scheduled appearance at a local children’s hospital as the breaking points in the team’s relationship with the receiver.
Owens caught 35 passes for 420 yards and 10 touchdowns in eight games for the Wranglers.
“It’s disappointing and unfortunate,” Frankel said of releasing Owens, “but (he) could no longer be tolerated by the Wrangler organization.”
It’s difficult to understand why the Wranglers expected any other outcome, although it’s not hard to understand their motivation. They saw the opportunity to hire a name, and that name brought attention to a league and a team that receives little of it. It was purely and simply a marketing opportunity, and if Owens could contribute a little on the field too, great.
The problem is that to get the return on their investment in Owens as a marketing tool, they also had to deal with the fact that he’s an unapologetic jerk. Just like the 49ers, Eagles, Cowboys, Bills, and Bengals, the Wranglers decided that the benefits of the former were far outweighed by the drawbacks of the latter.
And so ends Owens’ relevance. In some ways, this is sad, and it always has been. Here’s a player who had the physical gifts and the hulking body to excel, and he did for much of his career. Yet down to his final day buried deep in a league no one cared about he was still selfish and arrogant, and we’ll always remember that far more than his touchdowns.
He hung on to football because he has no idea how to release that grip. Despite his deep character flaws, that’s why we’re still worried about Owens as he now officially enters life after football.
And now the links part of the links post…
- Cam Newton was a bad teammate last year. Just ask him, he’ll tell you. [Jason Cole]
- That sound you just heard has Alex Smith chortling with great delight. If Smith’s odd and random pot shot towards Newton last week serves as a referendum on the tired and often curmudgeon-y “wins vs. stats” debate, then Smith actually provided more evidence showing how ridiculously good Newton was as a rookie. [Doug Farrar]
- Good news, Bills fans. Shawne Merriman will resume disappointing you soon. [Buffalobills.com]
- Many scribes who don’t possess psychology degrees or have any background in teaching (*lowers head, raises hand*) have criticized Jim Schwartz for the developing mess that is the Lions 2011 draft class and their behavioral problems. But Schwartz has done everything within his power to provide guidance, so eventually the responsibility to behave like a normal, functioning adult falls to the individual. [Detroit Free Press]
- Or maybe–and more likely–the problem in Detroit is far more deep rooted, and it starts in the front office. There’s a reason why we hear about character assessments and ominous red flags so much during draft season, and the risks surrounding Nick Fairley, Titus Young, and Mikel Leshoure were well known and documented last spring. [Albert Breer]
- Donald Driver said that he wants to be a Packer for life. He meant it, and he’s reportedly restructured his contract to finish out his career in Green Bay. [Green Bay Press Gazette]
- The second grievance filed by the NFLPA against the league will be heard this morning. Quick summary: Jonathan Vilma is pissed at Roger Goodell. Want a longer summary? Click the blue words. [Steve Wyche]
- Are you enjoying the Drew Brees standoff in New Orleans? Well, prepare for Maurice Jones-Drew v. Jacksonville Jaguars. [Pete Prisco]
- If you ask Tom Coughlin about the possibility of bringing back Plaxico Burress, he’ll shake his head. In most civilized areas of this earth, that means “no.” [New York Daily News]