Terrell Owens feels like he’s being provoked, and you know what? I agree with him.
Since the T.O. Show came to Buffalo, the media has been waiting for another meltdown. Everyone is looking for it. It’s starting to feel like one of those stories you hear about where the woman finds Jesus in her pancake batter. Every word T.O. utters and every gesture is being picked apart – scrutinized.
The first major media frenzy surrounding Owens came regarding his innocuous comments regarding the no huddle. Networks, bloggers, and talking heads were quick to throw the following comment – regarding the no-huddle offense under the microscope: Question – “Do you like the no-huddle?” T.O. - “No, but I got to deal with it.” Now sure, that alone wasn’t the most diplomatic answer ever, but hardly inflammatory. More importantly though, it was taken completely out of context. Here is the longer version:
No, not really. But I got to deal with it. [Laughs] No, it’s all right. It just gets you a little winded. For myself, I haven’t really practiced much the last few pre-season games so I’m still trying to get myself into shape and that’s coming around … You know, that’s part of our offense and we’re looking forward to it. I’ve gotten a taste of it since the OTA’s and I know what to expect. That’s sometimes a plus for the offense especially if we can kind of wear guys down and keep them on the field and don’t allow them to make substitutions, but you know, it’s something we’re looking forward to and we’re going to try it out.
Sounds good to me. And from Terrell Owens? What more can you expect. Further, here’s what we have NOT heard from him – quarterback bashing. In fact, in the same interview T.O. had the following to say about Trent.
The guy [Edwards] has tremendous upside [and] definitely a strong arm. We’re definitely learning about each other every day, every week. So the chemistry we have is only going to get better, so I think the thing for us in this offense is communication just as well as it is across the league and I think for us to be successful, you know, we both have those open lines of communication so I think we’ve had a great start at it.
This week, again, Owens was prompted by the media to talk about the demoralizing loss to the Saints and a game which saw T.O. without a catch for the first time in 185 consecutive games. Speaking to “Two Live Stews” hosted by Doug and Ryan Stewart, Owens explained that he has tried to prevent the tumult that boiled over and left a bitter taste in the mouths of Dallas and Philadelphia. In his words during that interview:
“It really just shows you the angle that the media has taken all these years. Over the years I’ve always kind of spoken openly about whatever is being asked with my answers, so the last four or five years I’ve kind of noticed that and tried taking some steps to prevent some of those things from happening.
“But [Sunday] as you saw, it was obviously … [the media] took some more than initiative to try to get me to kind of go down the wrong path. I know the last two teams that I’ve been on, I felt like I left those teams prematurely due to media interviews that I’ve done and things kind of taken out of context and they created sort of a media whirlwind in the locker room and things kind of went downhill from there. I’m just trying to do the best job I can do as far as answering the questions and trying to be a better teammate and not try to throw people under the bus.”
Sidestepping the obvious attempts to get him to speak about Edwards, and the zero catches last week, Owens explained that he is “just going with the plays that are called. Whether I like them or don’t, I’m just going with the plays that are called.” After being pressed further about whether or not Edwards was looking enough to the teams top receivers T.O. said, frankly, “No, I don’t want to answer that. I don’t want to answer that, because whatever I say you guys are going to turn it to however you want to say it.”
It seems clear that Owens is doing his best to be a team player in Buffalo, despite his past. A person’s past is certainly a part of his reputation, but trying to instigate that persona says more about us than him. While it may be impossible to expect him to keep from expressing any frustration over the course of the season, trying to induce such a tirade is ridiculous and embarrassing. So too is trying to read between every single line for any hint of discord. Should T.O. have been more involved last week? Of course! Did the offense look pathetic? Yes! Is he saying any of that?
This is a top caliber receiver in the NFL, despite the lack of statistical evidence so far this season, and there is no one questioning his competitive nature. You don’t get to be the type of athlete that Terrell Owens is by not wanting to be the best, and by not wanting the ball. Let’s cut the guy some slack my media colleagues. Now we need to be the ones to shut up, rather than telling T.O. to, as has historically been the case. Let the guy play football. Please, just shut up.