A long, twisted T.O. journey: Does it end in Seattle or is it already over?

Expect high gridiron drama in the Northwest this fall.

No, Coach Eric Taylor from “Friday Night Lights” — played by Emmy winner Kyle Chandler — is not headed for a chance to coach the Oregon Ducks nor even the Western Oregon Wolves for that matter. No indeed, the drama will be real and plenty if the past is an indication. Yeah buddy, we’re talking T.O.

Drama seems to follow Terrell Owens at every stop. Negotiations are under way so that the next stop on the T.O. Traveling Show is Seattle.

Like the proverbial bad penny, Terrell Eldorado Owens, might catch a pass in the NFL for the first time in almost 30 months if he signs with the Seattle Seahawks. And that possibility seems to be more than idle chatter right now. ESPN reports that the Seahwaks liked what they saw when T.O. worked out Monday. The star receiver, now 37 years old, was not offered any NFL deals last year after knee surgery. Owens ended up playing in a very contentious situation with the Allen Wranglers, an Indoor Football League team that is based just north of Dallas. The Wranglers released Owens, who is No. 2 on the list of all-time NFL career receiving yards, at 15,934, behind Jerry Rice, in something akin to a bad divorce. The Wranglers reportedly took the Jeep Wrangler the team had given him and evicted him from a house in which he was allowed to stay by the team.

Folks sometime get a shock when they recall just how prolific a receiver T.O. has been. No. 2 behind Rice? That’s ahead of receiving legends like Randy Moss and Cris Carter, Michael Irvin, Lynn Swann, Mike Ditka and Rocket Ismail. There is a reason though why Owens is sometime overlooked for his greatness. That reason is called “drama.”

What T.O. doesn’t create in the way of drama while playing for a team — he’s played for five teams — then that drama seems to follow him around.

Here is a list of his “antics” as called by About.com. It’s amazing someone had the time to research and write them up. A few stick out in my own head:

  • Star stealer — I remember driving back to Waco after a weekend out of town in Dallas in September 2000 . Driving the 90 or so miles down I-35E, I was listening to the Cowboys and 49ers game on the radio. Owens scored and then created a big fuss when he ran with the ball to mid-field and posed on the Dallas star. He repeated that action and got hammered by Cowboy free safety George Teague. That is pretty much Teague’s legacy as “Defender of the Star.” It pretty much was the start of the drama in the professional life of T.O.
  • Here you go — Owens scored a touchdown against what may be his sixth team in 2002 during a game in Seattle. He pulled a “Sharpie” out of his sock and autographed the ball, then handed it to his financial adviser who was sitting in the end zone luxury suite that was rented by the Seahawks cornerback he beat for the TD.
  • You damn dance stealer — T.O.  stole the dance of Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis and performed it after scoring a touchdown.
  •  Return to the Star — Spending three seasons with the Dallas Cowboys, Owens managed to spread what was his signature discontent. In September 2006, while I was staying in Allen for awhile, I saw a breaking news story about T.O. being taken to the hospital after what was reported and seemingly verified in police reports to be a suicide attempt. Owens said he had a reaction taking supplements and pain pills, the latter turned out out to be hydrocodone.

T.O. finished a relatively (relatively speaking) calm season with the Buffalo Bills and was productive with the Cincinnati Bengals before suffering a knee injury. After failing to land a spot after knee surgery came the ridiculousness with the Allen Wranglers, which I suppose was not around when I spent about a half year in Allen in 2006. Still, Owens seemed to leave discontent wherever he has ended up.

I watch the USA Network television series “Necessary Roughness” although I have mixed feelings about it. I haven’t read anything to indicate that it is so but the main character “Terrance (T.K.) King,” a pro football receiver who regularly sees the Callie Thorne psychologist character, certainly seems as if it is based on Terrell Owens. Owens even showed up as a guest on a season finale show which threw a wrench in the works as far as I was concerned.

The way I feel about great pro football players is that they should go out at their zenith. Owens has had his stunts in reality TV. He has played in a Super Bowl. He is fourth in career NFL TD receptions along with his 2nd in reception yards. No doubt he is, or was, a great player. Maybe we will see if he had gone to the mountain top if he gets the gig with the Seahawks. Most often, Owens has come off looking like a caricature of himself. He has seemed a Typhoid Mary of discontent, a person one step removed from real greatness and whose attention seeking always seems to grab the better of him.

Could this be his chance, a real chance for greatness for Terrell Owens? Stay tuned. It hasn’t been a boring journey so far, albeit many times a sad one.


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