So, the Cowboys have finally parted ways with their talented, but troubled wide receiver, Terrell Owens (a.k.a. T.O.). He's now free to sign with whatever team wants him. But given his past, that could be a small universe.
Which brings us to the obvious question this Debate Friday:
If T.O. wanted to play for the Patriots, should New England sign him?
Andy Hart says, "Yes!"
Assuming T.O. doesn't have a lot of options, which I think is a safe assumption at this point, I hope he comes crawling to Bill Belichick and the Patriots in a last-ditch effort to resurrect his reputation and championship dreams. Let me be clear, if he has options and expects the Patriots to in any way bid for his services then I have no interest.
But let's pretend his only other option is joining the circus in Oakland. If that's the case, I'd bring him in for a visit and lay down the law. He'd become a Patriot only on a one-year, low-money, no-guarantee deal. Belichick would have to have all the leverage and the ability to cut him at any point. If that were the case, I'd be open to the move.
I have all the respect in the world for Belichick and Tom Brady as leaders of men. They have the ability to read through B.S. artists and find guys who would be willing to fit into the program in New England. They've succeeded in the past with Corey Dillon and Randy Moss. Why not give it a try with the immature Owens? I think there would be minimal downside in the scenario I outlined above. T.O. has never blown up a team or a locker room in his first season. During that honeymoon period people in both Philadelphia and Dallas were singing the star wideout's praises. That's the year I'm looking for. Big plays, big smiles and a 2009 New England offense that would make the team's 2007 record-breaking edition jealous.
Make no mistake, I think T.O. is nuts. I think he's self-centered and the ultimate prima donna. But for one year in New England I think he'd fit in. In fact give him the locker stall just to left of Brady's. Sandwich the team captain and former NFL MVP right between Owens and Moss in the Gillette Stadium locker room. He'll keep them in check. I'm not worried.
My faith in Brady and Belichick tells me they're strong enough to deal with Owens' antics and keep them from bubbling to the surface. Ban him from talking to the media for all I care. Just put him on the field opposite Moss and watch the two big-play targets team with Wes Welker to put on an aerial show like we've never seen. Forget about the problems on defense that New England had a year ago. Who cares if you can't cover anybody if your own offense can't be covered!
Getcha popcorn ready! Heck, we should even petition the league to let New England field two guys wearing jersey No. 81. Hey, the offense will look like a Pro Bowl squad with Moss and Owens, why not use the liberal uniform rules from that game?
Erik Scalavino says, "No!"
Yeah, sure, go ahead. Sign T.O. … if what you want is the utter destruction of locker room chemistry and team unity. If on-field discord is what you want to pay to see at Gillette Stadium this fall, then T.O. is the guy for you!
Humble pie? Not for him, thanks. He prefers popcorn.
Owens has alienated himself with every team for whom he's ever played. And it's not like he played on bad teams or with bad quarterbacks. Jeff Garcia was a Pro Bowler in San Fran, but T.O. ruined that relationship. Donovan McNabb, another Pro Bowler, survived a bitter public feud with Owens in Philadelphia. Even Tony Romo, yet another all-star QB, grew tired of Owens' hackneyed act in Big D. Owens probably even complained in gym class that he didn't getting the ball enough.
Do you really want Tom Brady to have to deal with this nonsense? Especially in light of the fact that Brady will have enough to worry about this year, what with his much-anticipated return from knee surgery?
Some will argue that Bill Belichick has taken chances with problem children before (e.g., Corey Dillon, Randy Moss) and succeeded. True, but Belichick is a football coach, not a social worker. And with the amount of turnover on his staff and in the front office this year, he already has his hands full.
Bottom line: T.O. is an over-paid, over-hyped, over-grown child. The Pats are better off without him.