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The last chance saloon

March 17, 2009

When Terrell Eldorado Owens was released by Dallas, speculation on his future – mixed with the familiar stench from Jerry Jones lying like Nixon – was rife. Where would the six time Pro Bowler and all time receiving touchdowns runner up land after his third high profile divorce?

Of all the teams in the league who could have been in play for the drama queen’s drama queen (and lots have a need at WR – Giants, Panthers, Bucs, Jaguars, Ravens and Eagles) the idea that T.O. would land in Buffalo would have seemed slightly absurd.

Yet there he is. The way you can tell is that Owens 81 jerseys are already on sale. So at least their newest player and the team have the same approach to commercial decisions.

It’s unlikely they’re going to agree about much else. The Bills are a project team who are seeking to build around young franchise players at QB, RB and WR, and are still a couple of years away from making a run deep into the postseason. Traditionally a spit and bailing wire sort of team, Buffalo is in one of the league’s smallest markets, makes remarkably little money, spends even less, and has little profile.

What are all these cameras doing here?

What are all these cameras doing here?

By comparison, their new No.81 (not to be confused with their old 81, who was pressured into giving up the number) is probably the most “controversial” (read: malcontented) player in the NFL. Although in this day and age he’s by no means the least savoury – he hasn’t shot, run over or dogged any passersby – he is one of the league’s premiere narcissists, seemingly addicted to the cheap fix of seeing his name in the media. The me-first demeanour doesn’t stop at the hashmarks, either, and regular strops about the amount of passes thrown his way have been a feature of his 13 year career.

So if Owens is the kind of man who will dance on the Dallas star, work out in his driveway, wear the worst sunglasses on earth for an on camera blub and even get his own reality show – what the hell is he doing in the back of beyond? With little chance of a deep postseason run in the talented AFC East, and even less of the sort of mainstream media attention he’s become dependent on, Buffalo would seem the worst of all possible worlds for T.O.

It may be that he’s decided to turn over a new leaf, and decided that a plucky, out-of-the-way franchise in need of urgent ticket sales was the place to start the journey of redemption.

It may be that $6.5m buys you a lot more in the backwoods of upstate New York than in a big city.

It may be that mentoring young and wayward players like Marshawn Lynch offers Owens spiritual fulfillment.

Or, simply put, it may be that no one better was interested.

Here at PaP, we have trouble believing that Owens would in a milion years turn down a high profile market, a top tier team with offensive superstars, or a long term deal. The fact that he’s ended up with none of them seems to indicate that most NFL teams aren’t interested in spending big on a serial diva, and they think he’s more trouble than he’s worth.


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