Stewart F. House / McClatchy Tribune
Got your popcorn ready, Raider Nation? Can you handle a force so disruptive, a yapping mouth so loud, an ego so obnoxious itâ€™s not only burned bridges in San Francisco, Philadelphia and Dallas but also scorched the Earth?
Of course the ultra-inclusive enclave that is Silver and Blackdom can board Terrell Owens. At least you think you can. Shunned bad boy finds a home and thrives in Al Davisâ€™ Boys Town for wayward and lost NFL souls is a tale so rich itâ€™s become cliche.
Yes, T.O., who loves him some, um, him, even as the Cowboys grew weary of his antics, would look awesome in Silver and Black. And heâ€™d give JaMarcus Russell the elite receiver the young quarterback needs to further his development. So, on one hand, the Raiders going after Owens makes all the sense in the world. In fact, it makes too much sense. So much it makes no sense at all.
Owens is a Hall of Fame talent unafraid to go across the middle of the field, unlike a certain former Raiders receiver, malcontent by the name of Moss … Randy Moss. But while Owens gained gallons of goodwill for his gutsy broken-ankle performance in Super Bowl XXXIX, nearly leading the Eagles to an upset of New England, T.O. is also is a first ballot Hall of Shamer.
The rebuilding Raiders need Owensâ€™ game-breaking gifts, not T.O.â€™s team-killing rifts. Too bad they come in the same quixotic package.
â€œHeâ€™s a very talented guy, but his reputation is suspect and the Raiders need to move forward,â€ said former Raiders coach Tom Flores, who should know, having led two teams filled with misfits and castoffs to Super Bowl titles.
â€œThe Raiders have a lot of good young players; they donâ€™t need distractions.â€
Indeed, T.O. would throw his own quarterback under the bus as soon as heâ€™d grab a Sharpie, or some pom-poms or a bucket of Jiffy Pop.
Lest we forgot how he trashed Jeff Garcia and Donovan McNabb to the Nth degree in the testosterone-filled sports world by questioning the formerâ€™s sexuality and the latterâ€™s, um, testicular fortitude. Even after weeping tears of support for Tony Romo, T.O. turned on Jessica Simpsonâ€™s boy toy.
And you thought Warren Sapp was the â€œQB Killa.â€ The Animal House Raiders of Lyle Alzado and John Matuszak would not accept a me-first prima donna pass catcher. And the recycling plant of Plunkett and Co., should spit out T.O.â€™s baggage.
No, the hyper-sensitive Russell does not need this. Unless…. Could a humbled T.O. have his lesson in suffering the indignity of being cut by a franchise more loosey-goosey than the Raiders?
At least he has a fan in former Raiders receiving great Tim Brown, who recently told me, â€œI love watching T.O. play.â€
So where does he go from here? The Big Apple seems natural, the only market large enough to sustain his ego and the Giants need a game-breaking receiver who wonâ€™t shoot himself in the leg while clubbing.
The nationâ€™s capital might be interesting, what with Washingtonâ€™s spendthrift owner Daniel Snyder always eager to make a splash. Alas, even with a new White House occupant, â€œhopeâ€ and â€œchangeâ€ have never really applied to T.O.
The most intriguing new address for him might have been where it all began. But the 49ers re-marrying Owens had to be part of a three-step plan.
One that started with signing Kurt Warner. Then inking Owens, who would have respected a fellow Canton-bound player. And finally, drafting USC quarterback Mark Sanchez, who wonâ€™t be ready to run a team for two or three years anyway.
See, even discussing T.O.â€™s immediate future elicits more than a craving for popcorn.
By Paul Gutierrez / McClatchy Tribune