T.O. talks at length about his status

Free-agent receiver Terrell Owens, who has been waiting three months exactly for an opportunity to sign with his next team, visited the set of NFL Network’s Total Access on Friday night for an interview with host Rich Eisen.

NFL.com has posted the compelling 10-minute session for quick and easy consumption.

“I think why I’m not on a team is not because I can’t play.  It’s based off character issues, and I think that’s where the situation lies and I don’t think it’s fair,” Owens said, explaining earlier that he’s regarded as a “cancer” by some.  “As far as me being able to produce and perform on the football field, I can do that.  That’s not a question.  You ask any of my coaches from last year on that team, you ask even some of the coaches from the Dallas Cowboys, they’ll tell you.  You can ask some of the players.  It’s not that.  The scenario now is based on my character more than the performance on the football field.”

So Eisen asked in response:  Are these concerns baseless?

“With some of the situations that have happened in the past, there’s always two sides to a story,” Owens said.  “With those instances and situations that may be brought up, yeah, I can try to defend myself ’til the cows come home.  Again, me trying to defend myself against the media about the perception of myself is like shooting a ghost.  I’m not gonna win that battle.  But I’ve always been confident in who I am and what I stand for.”

Then came the closest Owens likely ever will come to apologizing for his past words and actions.

“Those things that have arisen or whatever, they happened,” Owens said.  “There’s some things that I wish I could have differently, there’s some things I wish I could have said differently.  But nothing that I regret.”

Hey, an internally inconsistent expression of regret is better than no internally inconsistent expression of regret at all. 

“Those are the things that happened with football,” Owens said.  “I’m not a criminal, I’m not any of that.  But I know that the things I do on a football field, they speak for themselves.  Again, some of those things in the past, they’re in the past.  We’re all in this world that say, ‘Put the past behind us and move forward.’  How can I do that?”

He sort of has a point.  Last year, Owens behaved in Buffalo, even if his ultimate motivation arose from spiting the media.  And Owens specifically pointed out that Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick recently said good things about T.O. to Clark Judge of CBSSports.com.  So if Owens has learned from his mistakes — or even if he’s simply determined to keep himself out of controversy so that the media has no further ammunition against him — the guy seems to be different now.

Moreover, and as a Hall of Fame voter pointed out to us on an anonymous basis for a recent SportingNews.com item, an argument can be made that Randy Moss has been more disruptive and problematic in his career than Owens, and that T.O. has been perceived as a problem only because none of his teams protected him in the way that, for example, the 49ers protected Jerry Rice, who’d be whisked out of the locker room when P.R. folks perceived that Rice was ready to blow his stack in front of cameras and microphones.

Owens also continues to downplay reports of his salary expectations, explaining that his requests are “negotiable.”  He claims that he doesn’t insist on going in as the No. 1 wideout.  At one point, he suggested that he wasn’t the top guy in Buffalo last year, but he had 55 catches for 829 yards while Lee Evans had 44 receptions for 612.

It remains to be seen where Owens lands.  He missed extended time last year in training camp after suffering a toe injury in the Hall of Fame game, so there’s evidence that his body may be breaking down a bit.

As we see it, the character concerns aren’t keeping him out.  It’s the combination of his reputation, his potential for disruption, his aging body, and his inherent need to be paid at a certain level so that he feels as if he’s being properly respected.  If he’d take a minimum-salary deal, he’d have a choice of four or five teams today.

In the end, his best bet would be to work out a contract with low base pay and a series of additional payments based on performance.

Then again, given his history, Owens could slip out of his acting debut as Eddie Haskell if he believes he’s not getting enough opportunities to earn more money.

29 responses to “T.O. talks at length about his status

  1. In the end, his best bet would be to work out a contract with low base pay and a series of additional payments based on performance.
    IMHO this would be the worst way to sign TO. He will go ballistic as soon as it seems he will not make his incentives. He will sign for 2-3 mil and be a non factor unless the Fins have a change of heart.

  2. Bottom line is Owens can still play. He’s at least still in the top 3rd in the league of all WR’s. He’s not a probowler anymore, but if a contending team signs him, he could be a contributer.

  3. Owens is not really saying to put the past behind us. He’s saying to put the bad behavior behind us, but please please remember what a great player on the field I have been in the past. The past should be screened and cleaned. Mental inconsistency is TO’s great consistency.

  4. TO was a class act in Buffalo last year. I would love to see him come back. The fans loved him and Buffalo loved him.

  5. Here is what you do…. I believe his asking price is a 3 year deal worth 9 million, likely 5.5 guaranteed or so.
    3 years 5.5 guaranteed. Give him the opportunity to make the other 3.5 + another mil or so in bonuses. Yr 1 = 50 + catches, Yr 2/3 = 40+ catches. 750k for yr 1, 250 k for the remaining 2. Yr 1 = 700+ yds, Yr 2/3 = 500+ yds. 750k for yr 1, 250k for the remaining 2. Yr 1 = 9+ TD’s, Yr 2/3 = 6+ TD’s. 750k yr1, 250k for the remaining 2. We are now up to 8.5 million over 3 years. Add in a 500k per yr bonus with absolutely no fines and no media outbursts. 1 total negates the whole 1.5 mil potential.
    This scenario allows him to make up to 10 million dollars based on numbers that really shouldn’t be hard for him to hit. With teams like: Cleveland, Buffalo, St. Louis, and others. They are all in need of a #1 this year, but have players in place to take over that spot within a season (Mo Massaquoi, James Hardy, K. Burton/D. Avery/M Gilyard) will all be looked at to assume a #1 role by then. That would allow TO in year one to help along a young cat to transition to a 1 with him moving to a 2 the next season and the 3rd either staying at a 2 or moving to a slot. His transitioning a player would be good for himself as well. Moving to a 2, he would be able to abuse most #2 CB’s, a cover LB, or a SS.
    Personally, I hope Cleveland picks him up. I think under Holmgrens watch, TO can become a leader for the offense, a valuable teacher for guys like MM, Robiskie, and C. Mitchell, and honestly stay away from the media for the most part. Other than Browns writers, what the hell media stream wants to come there and interview anyone? 5-11 teams do not get much publicity!

  6. Central High School in LA needs a Wide Receiver for the 2010 season.
    Maybe TO could catch on there……

  7. “some of those things in the past are in the past” Just some? Guess he is not done being a cancer. :You can ask SOME of the players and SOME of the coaches.”
    I ask ask some of my coworkers to and they say im great too.
    *** The Ghostbusters can shoot a ghost.

  8. T.O. has said this exact statement before i think–>”Those things that have arisen or whatever, they happened,” Owens said. “There’s some things that I wish I could have differently, there’s some things I wish I could have said differently. But nothing that I regret.” The guy should be on a team by now. That being said, you know what I hate the most about T.O.? The 50td’s and 2 superbowls he should have by now with the eagles.

  9. DB26 says:
    “Personally, I hope Cleveland picks him up.”
    I can appreciate that kind of thinking. The other side of that is, would Owens be the kind of positive influence that is needed by the Browns’ young receivers? If it’s his on-field performance, the answer would be “yes.” But if it’s his super-egotistic and self-centered, off-the-field clown act, the answer is a very loud “HELL NO!”
    Ultimately, the decision would be made by Heckert…and I don’t think the Browns’ GM is inclined to go there.
    It would make for a more interesting season, though…

  10. “you ask even some of the coaches from the Dallas Cowboys, they’ll tell you. You can ask some of the players. It’s not that. ”
    Lol. Don’t ask all of them, just some of them.

  11. @DB26
    It sounds plausible but we are talking about one of the biggest egomaniacs sports has ever seen. I totally believe that he wants 5-6 million per year. Players typically use other player’s contracts as a refrence point for their own. The Baltimore Ravens, gave Derrick Mason a 2 year deal worth a total of about 8 million dollars, which averages out to about 4 million dollars per year. Despite the fact that Mason had a much better year than Owens, I totally believe that he sees himself as a better player than Mason and thus deserving of more money than him. There is now way he’d take a 3 year contract that only has a max value of 9 million, given the deal that Mason got.

  12. T.O. is, and always has been, better than D.Mason. there, I said it. Again, T.O. is better than D.Mason.

  13. You can talk smack about him all you want, but the fact is-HE CAN PLAY ! TO’s problem is that he is not well spoken and the media knows it so they hound him in hopes of him putting his shoe in his mouth-which he does. It’s a shame. I’d take him on my team any day of the week, and he’s off limits to the media.

  14. “And Owens specifically pointed out that Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick recently said good things about T.O. to Clark Judge of CBSSports.com.”
    This is a “grown” man who sounds like a kid that got into trouble and is begging his teacher to read/hear what someone else said good about him. I told my “sports” friend years ago that T.O. is a walking time bomb AND a loose cannon for any team. We had a bet that he wouldn’t keep his act together at Dallas. I won.
    He has simply never had to be accountable where it counts. I knew in my heart that playing at Dallas was going to be a disaster. Of course I think that Jerry Jones is an idiot (rich idiot) and I couldn’t see JJ rehabbing anyone……

  15. Sooner or later multiple years of douchebaggery will end up in with one being treated like the douche bag that you are!

  16. It’s been reported that TO wants to play 1 more year then go into acting. The most likely scenario would be a contending team picking him up if a starting WR gets injured between now and wk 3 of the preseason.
    Contenders aside, couldn’t TO be a good fit in St. Louis, Carolina, Atlanta, KC or Jacksonville ? Imagine putting him on the other side opposite Andre Johnson in Houston or Calvin Johnson in Detroit (Nate Burleson has had exactly one 1,000 yd season back in ’04 and scored 27 td’s over the last 7 years). I mean, what does Detroit have to lose (besides the #1 pick in next years draft).
    If you take into consideration Buffalo’s terrible offense (nice O line, Chan), TO actually produced decent numbers (55/829/5 plus 6 carries for 54 yds and another td).

  17. Who is this T.O. character anyway?? Has he even been relevant over the last 5yrs? I didn’t think so!

  18. “Randy Moss more disruptive than Terrell Owens”?!
    That just proves the HoF voters are worthless. This quote is even dumber than, well, than the selection of Ralph “never won a Super Bowl and now has hired Chan Gailey and Buddy Nix” Wilson!
    Please learn to think for yourself, Florio.

  19. Terrell Owens has been defecated on for way too long.
    Traditionally, fans hated it when players got arrested. Now, any story that gets Peter King and Boomer Esaison’s panties twisted in a bunch is considered a major crisis in comparison to Donte Stallworth killing someone with his car.
    Hell, I remember watching ESPNEWS when the Stallworth DUI manslaughter story broke and the anchor had the attitude of “no big deal”.
    The Ravens should change their offensive philosophy and put all Ray Rice’s screen passes for Boldin, give most of the balls for Todd Heap and all the balls for Mark Clayton and Demetrius Williams to T.O., make Heap more of a blocker, trade McGahee to Seattle as a replacement for LenDale White, give Le’Ron McClain the carries he has campaigned for, and include Mason like how he has been included.

  20. Does anyone besides TO actually believe he’s going to have a career as an actor after football?..Being on a VH1 reality show isn’t acting. He will sign with somebody at some point, just not for the money he wants…

  21. NO. I don’t believe that T.O. will become an “actor”. A reality show may be somewhat scripted and edited but I don’t think that going from that to an career on television and in movies would be that easy.
    Seriously, I believe that T.O.’s football career is slowly coming to a complete stop. Too bad because he is an exceptional player when he’s not thinking about something other than the game.
    When was Randy Moss a bigger distraction than T.O.? I missed that.

  22. Teams saw that last season, he lost his hands….he dropped MANY passes
    Teams saw his effort which was lazy most of the time
    Teams saw he didnt really change his attitude

  23. Even if he could pay at en elite level (and that’s debatable), who would sign him knowing he’s good for 1, maybe 2 years tops, taking reps and time away from a player of the future, at a lower cost.
    Makes no football or economic sense to sign this guy, even if he wasn’t a cancer in the locker room.

  24. He could have been one of the all-time greatest but his lack of team play hurt him eventually wherever he was.
    SF to the Eagles to the Cowboys they all got sick and tired of him. He just doesn’t get it.
    What a waste of great talent. After he leaves the game it will be TO who?

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