When the Chicago Rush of the Arena Football League expressed a publicity-stunt interest in receiver Terrell Owens, it was worthy of a mention here. “T.O. seems to be desperate for attention and/or relevance and/or fodder for his latest reality show venture,” I wrote at the time, “and we’ll find out just how desperate he is if he chooses to accept the offer, with the reality TV cameras in tow.”
As it turns out, T.O. may be aiming even lower than the top of the indoor football food chain. According to Brandon George of the Dallas Morning News, Owens could soon be signing with the Allen Wranglers of the IFL. Owner Jon Frankel said that the discussions with agent Drew Rosenhaus were “far from conversation” and that Owens is “significantly closer” to joining the Wranglers than he was a month ago.
The team also has declared its desire to sign Owens on the Wranglers’ official website. “The compensation package, which is within the rules of the Indoor Football League, would be $250,000 up to $500,000,” the website states.
Owens reportedly needs money, and there’s apparently no one else offering him that kind of money to do anything else right now.
“It doesn’t make a ton of financial sense, but it would make it the No. 1 fan experience in Collin County,” Frankel said. “The awareness of the team would skyrocket and I would imagine we’d sell out every game.”
The 38-year-old wideout has drawn no interest from NFL teams after tearing an ACL in the offseason. “At first everybody thought it was a big joke but it wasn’t a big joke,” Wranglers coach Pat Pimmel said. “It’s serious. It’s real close. I think it will be within the next week or so. He would have never got his agent involved in it if he wasn’t thinking about it. He can still play, you know that.”
The Wranglers open their 2012 season on February 25. Their General Manager is Drew Pearson, who like T.O. once played for the Dallas Cowboys. Unlike T.O., Pearson will be joining the team’s Ring of Honor.
If it’s indeed close and if the Wranglers hope to get the deal done, why are they taking it public now? It’s possible that Owens was interested in sending up a trial balloon, and that he’ll make a final decision based on the full extent of the lo-how-the-mighty-have-fallen reaction to the news. Or maybe the Wranglers, sensing that an NFL team may be interested in signing Owens for the postseason, are trying to scare off potential suitors by attaching even more baggage to T.O. Just yesterday, Owens was stumping for a roster spot with the 49ers on (where else?) Twitter.
Either way, it’s odd that the Wranglers would disclose such a stunning, unusual strategy before the ink dries on the contract. If T.O. didn’t approve of the tactic, the Wranglers may have scared Owens away.
Then again, there’s still no one else offering him $250,000 to $500,000 right now.