(Aug. 18, 2005) -- As the preseason continues, we need to say thank goodness for Terrell Owens. He and his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, have created a soap opera that has caught the attention of the entire football world. I can completely understand T.O.'s quest for a renegotiated deal, but I am getting sick and tired of his contract being characterized as a seven-year, $49 million deal.
Every NFL player, fan, owner and coach knows that it's highly unlikely and rare that a player ever makes it to the final few years of his contract. A prime example is the $9 million that Ty Law was supposed to receive this year from the New England Patriots. When the Patriots knew Law was hurt, they easily decided to cut him, which meant the final year of his contract did not have to be fulfilled from the team's side.
It is amazing how coaches, during this time of year, create pressure on players to sign deals to get into camp so they don't fall behind in the preparation process. Case in point is Cincinnati head coach Marvin Lewis questioning the holdout of rookie David Pollack from the Bengals' training camp. Pollack has since reported to camp. This is typical in the NFL: Propaganda is created to make the player look bad and then the player is the one who finds himself under pressure.
So now back to T.O. and his quest for a new contract. T.O. has articulated his stance regarding his contract quite accurately and I would never begrudge a player who is looking to enhance his contract because, unlike Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association, football contracts are not guaranteed long term.
However, while I can understand Owens' argument and desire for a new contract, what I can't understand is his public bickering with Donovan McNabb. Remember this all started with T.O. implying that he wasn't the one who was out of shape for the Super Bowl. The Philadelphia media went wild with that quote and put the target squarely on the back of McNabb. This is where I jump off the T.O. bandwagon.
Terrell Owens' constant bickering is becoming a distraction for teammate Donovan McNabb.
While I agree that he is a superstar player, one of the top five receivers in the league and he has every right to ask for more money, he does not have the right to embarrass or show a lack of respect to his team captain and one of the NFL's greatest quarterbacks in this era. I can't help but think that Owens' former quarterback, Jeff Garcia, is laughing about this in Detroit. As each day passes and Owens' behavior becomes more childish, Garcia looks better and better. And so does former 49ers and current Falcons offensive coordinator Greg Knapp.
With Philly's problems now at wide receiver, the Eagles could go a few different routes. Replacement possibilities are out there if Philly is willing to make a trade immediately and improve the prospects for McNabb overnight. These players could be on the trading block if Philly is willing to part with some draft picks.
1. Robert Ferguson, Green Bay Packers
2. Andre Davis, Cleveland Browns
3. Peter Warrick, Cincinnati Bengals
Warrick could even be released by the Bengals before the end of camp if the Eagles are willing to wait it out to avoid a trade and possibly losing draft picks.
The one thing Joe Banner, Jeff Lurie and Andy Reid need to contemplate is how much of a distraction has Owens become to McNabb. As one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL today, it is my opinion that McNabb deserves better. With the current state of affairs surrounding the Eagles, McNabb will be peppered with questions from the media after every practice and every game about his relationship with his petulant receiver. Playing quarterback in the NFL is enough of a burden as it is, and every coach will tell you he wants to keep the distractions to a minimum.
T.O. has become a hurricane of distractions. In no way, shape or form can this be considered good for McNabb, or for the rest of the team for that matter.
And one last thing on this topic: How idiotic did Rosenhaus look on ESPN sitting next to T.O.? Remember the only way T.O., as a client, is going to pay off to Rosenhaus is if Owens can get a new contract because all commissions from the previous deal go back to Owens' previous agent, who himself was a real disaster in the first place.